Monday, March 8, 2010

No-Go Showboat

I came of age in what I call the post muscle car era… the time of unleaded, limited, high priced gasoline. However, at the time my musical heroes were from the previous era… the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. Songs like 409, Little Deuce Coupe, Shut Down, Drag City, and No-Go Showboat, along with the fact that I had an inbred need for speed, drove me to own and drag some fast (for then) cars. It never really mattered to me how a car looked, but that she delivered when called upon did. One of the cars I best remember was a sleeper built and owned by my dad… a 1972 Duster, brown in color and devoid of chrome and the staccato sound that defined most “fast” cars of that day… a very normal looking, sounding car, until his lead foot would hit the floorboard. Some time, when you have time, ask Brenda about Ivan’s brown car… she remembers too. A no-go showboat she was not.

Well… enough about cars. Let’s think about life… a domain in which plenty of no-go showboats exist. I’m referring to people who are MORE concerned with the showroom (their appearance) than with the warehouse (who they are) and thus cannot respond when called upon to deliver what they’ve advertised. Such were the scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ day. In appearance they were very impressive, but beneath the carefully constructed and maintained facade they were something all together different. They were no-go showboats… noise but no performance… flash but no dash… hearers of the WORD but not doers. So, Jesus spoke to them about their hypocrisy…

You’re hopeless, you religious scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you are saints, but beneath your skin you are total frauds (The Message, Matthew 23:27-28).

These men looked good in the showroom but were busted in the warehouse. And Jesus called them out on it. Let us learn, at their expense, a valuable lesson... when we concern ourselves with the WAREHOUSE of life (who we are in Him) the SHOWROOM of life (our appearance) tends to care of itself.

No more No-Go Showboat for me…

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's Not Normal

Though a believer may speak hateful destructive words, be consumed with bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, malice, and be hardhearted and unforgiving, it is not normal and should not be accepted as being so. Paul commanded the Ephesian believers to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind… to put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:23-24)” As people who were being renewed, he commanded them to “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:29-23).” The clear teaching of Scripture is that those who claim to have been born again can and should be expected to live as one who has been born again. Any behavior that betrays one’s confession shouldn’t be tolerated by that individual or by other believers.

Friends, the words Paul wrote to the Ephesians were not simply words of suggestion. They were, and are, the very words of God. We will either obey them for our own good and the good of others, or we will ignore them to our own shame and the harm of others.

Jesus said the world (people around us) would know that we are His disciples by our love for one another. We must realize the truth of His statement and accept our personal responsibility to walk in love with one another. Sure we will make some mistakes, and there will be times of misunderstanding. But, it is past time for us to stop pointing a finger of blame at the person, or persons, who we think treated us wrongly or didn’t care for us like we think he or she should have and do what Paul told the Ephesians to do… “Forgive one another even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32b).”