Category Archives: christianity

Thanks be.. (or Little Candle Boy)

thanksbe

Well, yesterday was Thanksgiving here in america. It is a wonderful time for food, family, and football. But it’s original purpose was a say to give thanks. Sadly this aspect has become a tertiary purpose at best.

We relegate thanks to one team per person before the meal. Then, often we seem to give ours begrudgingly. If we are truly thankful, we should be bursting with Joy when we tell of our blessing.

So, with joy bursting inside of me, I would like to share one of my favorite things to be thankful for…

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?”  (2nd Corinthians 2:14-16 NKJV)

How great a passage is this?

I rejoice over this passage. I celebrate this passage. I will never forget the time my good friend Pastor Alan Koch sat down and explained how he derived his church name, (Christ Triumphant Church in Lee’s Summit, MO) from this passage.

So let me dig into this passage a little and take just a moment to show you why it has been so meaningful to me.

First, Paul begins by giving thanks to God. However, He doesn’t just say thank you, He explains to us what He is thankful for and this allows us to share in His thanksgiving.

He is thankful because God always leads us in Triumph. Think about that, God never leads us in fear our doubt, no! God leads us in Triumph. But not just any triumph. Paul is very specific. We are lead in triumph in Christ Jesus.

It isn’t enough to know that God is leading us in triumph. God wants us to know what Triumph looks like. Triumph looks like a slain Lamb who overcomes the world, sin, and the grave.

But Do not stop there… The passage continues. Paul is thankful because God uses us. He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere. We literally become God’s candles. Jesus said we are the light of the world. that light descended in Acts two like a flame over our heads. This is the image of the Candle.

God allows us to spread His knowledge like light and like fragrance. However, just like any candle there will be two reactions. First there are those who love the candle and want to have it in their home. these are the people who are being saved. But to others our fragrance will be rank. These are the people who are far from Christ and on the fast road to death.

We should intend in our hearts today to be like Paul. We should be thankful that we are in Christ. We should rejoice that we are walking in His victory. We should Celebrate that He uses us to spread His knowledge. We should Give thanks that we smell like Him, even when it causes others to gag.

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?”

Thanks Be…

 

Dear Church…

istillloveyou

Dear Church,

Before I say anything else, I want you to know I still love you. I see you there hurt, wounded, beaten and broken. I know that people have been hard on you. Some of it you deserved, some of it you just got because people forgot how much you deserve love.

Let me be honest, things have been rough in recent years. There have been times when you haven’t looked anything like my Bible. There have been times you haven’t looked anything like Jesus. There have been times I wanted to give up and times I wanted to quit. I was ready to pick up a stone and take aim for your forehead. But I didn’t…

Some of your attitudes have left me wounded, and in my rejection and wounding it became easy to forget all the good you have done me over the years. Not only me, but everyone. So I decided to be intentional this year to remind myself of all your benefits.

You are a home. No matter where I go, or how long I am gone, Ms. Mary is always at your front door smiling waiting for me to come home. I don’t get that everywhere I go. Church, you are a home. You are a place that I miss when I am traveling. You are a place that my heart longs for when I am on the other side of the world. Church, I can’t wait to come home and tell you all the amazing things God has done in my life and used me to do in the lives of others.

Church, you support me. You push me to study my bible and really find out who Jesus is. Thank you for encouraging me to not only believe, but to have a “why” behind my belief. Thank you for pushing me to make the hard choices even when it meant hard times. You have pushed me to be more like Jesus than I would ever have pushed myself.

Thank you church for helping me express the worship in my heart. Every time I come through your doors we worship Jesus together. It is such a blessing. Sometimes my life gets busy and I forget to worship Jesus, but there you are, doors open wide and songs proclaiming Loudly, “I love you Jesus. I rejoice to have you as my Lord, and my Light.”

Church, I know sometimes we disagree on things. I know I struggle sometimes with the sermon that our pastor preaches. I know sometimes I don’t agree with every word that comes out of His mouth, but Church, you never let my disagreements keep me from coming. You encourage me to understand where our differences are, what differences matter, ad what differences are trivial.

Church, thank you for consistently reminding me to think beyond myself. I thank you for taking the time to remind me of the needs of my city, region, state, nation, thank you for caring about the world as a whole. Thank you for calling me to look into the darkness and see the light shining. Thank you for challenging me to engage the world as that light that I might bring vision of Jesus to the world. Church, this is what you do.

Church, we are a community. Sometimes we differ on what that should look like, but in the end, I need you. You need me too. We have a tough relationship, but I tire of how often people are quick to dismiss you. To throw stones and tell you all the things you need to change just to matter again.

CHURCH! I STILL LOVE YOU.