Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Call.7

Then the King turned to his servant. "The wedding is ready,” he said, “but those who were invited were not worthy to attend. Go then, to those whom you meet on street corners and highways, and invite them in to the wedding."

The servants did as the king commanded them. They went to the street corners of the city, and out along the highways, and invited everyone they encountered, both the good and the bad, until the wedding hall was filled with guests.

That evening, the king was greatly displeased to see one at the table eating without the wedding garment that had been provided. 

He asked: "How is it that you came in to the feast without your wedding garment?" 

But the man could give no excuse.

Then the king said to his servants: "Bind this man and have him removed."

I asked the wedding congregation to pull a dollar bill out of their pockets and hold them in the air.  "In the last twenty years has this dollar increased or decreased in value?"  Chuckles filled the air as the majority agreed that it has significantly decreased.  One man flatly stated "It's worth about 20 cents!"

Then I asked "In the last twenty years, has the value of marriage increased or decreased in our society?"  Sighing instead of chuckling, the folks realized my point.

Devalued to the point that anyone feels emboldened to call any living arrangement marriage, no matter how historically incompatible with nature's law and nature's God.

The King's call was an invitation to restoration of the Kingdom values embodied in the Son of his Love.  It is the King's prerogative to call his subjects to account for how closely they live out those values or how far they've strayed.  The preparation of the calves is a reminder that the people will be called to remember the terms of the covenant of the Kingdom.   And in remembering, renew their commitment to live them out...voluntarily, from the heart.

The truth of the matter is that we will live by some code of conduct.  In ancient days, as  Toqueville points out, king's were the sole source of power and authority.  And yet, even if they were ruthlessly evil they were limited in their ability to monitor the day to day activities of the people.
"Although the entire government of the empire was concentrated in the hands of the emperor alone, and although he remained, in time of need, the sole arbiter of all things, the details of social and of individual existence ordinarily escaped his attention altogether."  
Today, however, with technological advances, the ruling class has the ability to "subject the state's subjects to a uniform set of regulations."  Obamacare alone has over 700 references to the regulatory power of the Secretary of Health & Human Services. By fiat, for example, Kathleen Sebelius mandated the Catholic church provide contraceptives to its employees.  In today's America, even children are being forced to obtain permits to run a lemonade stand!

These "uniform set of regulations" are, in deed, our "uniforms" with which we are to clothe ourselves to pay homage to our ruling elite!

In Jesus' parable of the banquet, He reminds us that we will be clothed: 
  • in the rags of our own self-will
  • in the "uniforms" of a ruling class
  • or in the "robes of righteousness" the King offers to all who voluntarily give Him their hearts.
Choose wisely...

(references to Toqueville and Obamacare from Mark Steyn's book, After America)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Call.6

"...When the king learned of what had happened, he was enraged. He sent his palace soldiers into the provinces, and they caught the murderers, executed them, and burned their houses to the ground."


Take comfort in this, dear saints of God, 

Mark Steyn's newest book, After America, captures the essence of indifference to God's invitation to honor His kingdom, it's Leader and its godly heritage:

"King Belshazzar's wild party began with an act of desecration: 
"Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone...
No sooner has he done so than the writing appears on the wall, spelling out with disembodied fingers "mene mene, tekel, upharsin."  They're currency units: half-dollar, half-dollar, penny, and two bits.  But what does it mean? None of the A-list seers Belshazzar keeps on the payroll has a clue what it portends, so the King calls in Daniel the Jew to explain things, which he does, very bluntly:
Mene: "God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it."
Tekel: "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting."
Upharsin: "thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians."
Within twenty-four hours, Belshazzar is slain and Darius the Mede is king.
Today, the units are larger than in Babylon: "mene mene, tekel, upharsin: is now trillion trillion, billion, half-trillion.  But the upshot's the same.  We've spent too much of tomorrow today--to the point we've run out of tomorrow: fiscally, our days are numbered; structurally, we've been weighed in the balances and found wanting; and geopolitically, the Medes are thin on the ground but the Persians have gone nuclear."  (from the prologue: The Stupdity of Broke)

America is a wild party out of control and its leaders are ignoring, nay, are antagonistic to the lessons of the past.  With gross neglect and hostile intent they now target messengers of God's patient and timeless invitation to come to his banquet and honor His Son: the Logos who embodies the Kingdom virtues of righteousness, peace, and truth.

America's history is not a story of collectivist planners herding the masses to economic prosperity.  It is the ageless story of individuals committing themselves to God, His ways and sharing a commonwealth of blessing by living out the principles that lead to those blessings.  Our hope of redemption, of reversing the tragic and accelerating decline is not in the election cycle, it's in the messenger's task of relentlessly inviting our neighbors back to the banquet!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Call.5

Once there was a king who planned the wedding of his son. When all was ready, he sent forth his servants to the provinces of his kingdom, to summon those invited to the wedding. Incredibly, the guests refused to come.

Undaunted, the king sent out his servants a second time, saying: "Tell those invited to the wedding, I have prepared a great feast. My oxen and best calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding."

But again the subjects made light of the king’s invitation and returned to their work, some to their farms, others to their shops. Some remained behind, and these took hold of the king's servants and beat them to death.

'Tis the season for partying: graduations, weddings, and holidays.  I have always been envious of capable party planners.  I'm not one of them.  Too much detail; perhaps too much thinking or--and I know this will come as a surprise to some--I'm not much of a party guy!  I have a hard time planning a date night with my wife, for Pete's sake!
But there have certainly been times when I roused myself to the task, when the situation called for it, when the object of the celebration was worth the effort. My boy's graduation open houses come to mind.  Although I depended heavily on my wife, a very capable party planner and detail person, I was very invested in honoring their young lives and accomplishments; of providing an opportunity for others to bless them in their journey to adulthood.

Invitation and Consideration
I received a text message inviting me to a "Benefit/Open House to raise money for an upcoming mission trip."  A few things went into my decision making process: the distance, what I had on my 'to do list', the reason for the event, my relationship with the host, what I had to contribute to the goal of the event...not necessarily in that order.  Sometimes events don't meet expectations, and are disappointing.  More often than not, they are way better than you could have imagined...and you regret not bringing others along to enjoy it with you.

Celebration or Renunciation
My day job involves "inviting" people to participate in our organization's effort to make doing business--the act of providing a good or service beneficial enough that others would buy it--easier rather than harder.  The reception I get varies from sincere openness to inexplicable hostility.  (Grateful that I have, as yet, not been beaten to death!)
Jesus always speaks in relation to the experiences of life to drive home his eternal truth.  God's invitation to the greatest celebration of all: Oneness and Fellowship and Commonwealth with all that He is and loves, is still open to all.  Incredibly, many still refuse to accept it and beat up the messengers! But you can bet your life that those who do will be the kind of people whom the King will want to be King over!  The celebration won't be bad either...pity those on the outside looking in.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Call.4

If you wish to follow me, you must first put aside your own desires and your self-centered ways. Sacrifice your pride and follow me. For those who desire eternal life must put aside their old way of life. All who do this for my sake will discover new life -- both here on earth as well as in heaven.


Christ is the way out, 
     and the way in; 
the way from slavery--conscious or unconscious, 
     into liberty; 
the way from the unhomeliness of things 
     to the home we desire 
     .....but do not know; 
the way from the stormy skirts of the Father's garments 
to the peace of his bosom. 

To picture him, we need not only endless figures, 
      but sometimes quite opposing figures: 
          he is not only the door of the sheepfold, 
          but the shepherd of the sheep; 
               he is not only the way, 
               but the leader in the way, 
                    the rock that followed, 
                    and the captain of our salvation. 
We must become as little children, 
     and Christ must be born in us; 
          we must learn of him, 
          and the one lesson he has to give is himself: 
               he does first all he wants us to do; 
               he is first all he wants us to be. 
We must not merely do as he did; 
     we must see things as he saw them, 
           regard them as he regarded them; 
we must take the will of God as the very life of our being; 
     we must neither try to get our own way,
          nor trouble ourselves as to what may be thought or said of us. 

The world must be to us as nothing.

(MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons II, Self-Denial)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Call.3

Why do you call me good, unless you believe I am God? You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery; Do not kill; Do not steal; Do not bear false witness; Honor your father and your mother. Doing this, you will have treasures in heaven. And yet, you fall short by honoring me with your words alone, and not using everything -- your wealth, your possessions, and your life -- to help those in need.

The Lord cared neither for isolated truth nor for orphaned deed.
It was truth in the inward parts, it was the good heart, the mother of good deeds, he cherished. 
It was the live, active, knowing, breathing good he came to further. He cared for no speculation in morals or religion. 
It was good men he cared about, not notions of good things, or even good actions, save as the outcome of life, save as the bodies in which the primary live actions of love and will in the soul took shape and came forth.
Could he by one word have set at rest all the questionings of philosophy as to the supreme good and the absolute truth, I venture to say that word he would not have uttered. 
But he would die to make men good and true.  
His whole heart would respond to the cry of sad publican or despairing pharisee:
 'How am I to be good?'

(MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons II, The Way)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Call.2

"A man had two sons. He said to the elder: "Son, go and work today in my vineyard."
"I will not," the son replied; but later he experienced a change of heart, and went to the fields to work.
Then the father said to the younger son: "Go into the fields as well."
Immediately he answered: "I will." But he remained at home, and ignored his father's words. 

Which of these two sons fulfilled their father's request?"

"Are you the fairy that herds the bees?" he asked, going down to his knees on the green shore of the tulip-bed. 
 "I'm not a fairy," answered the little creature.
 "How do you know that?"
"It would become you better to ask how you are to know it."
"You've just told me." 
"Yes. But what's the use of knowing a thing only because you're told it?" 
(from The Back Of The North Wind, by George MacDonald)

On the way out to a meeting I asked one of my sons to pick up some tools I'd left from working on a vehicle.  I got home later that wasn't until the morning that I discovered that half the tools were still laying outside.

I called the boy down to inquire why he'd only completed half the job.  "I spoke in simple English words, son, did you not understand what I wanted you to do?"  "Yes," he replied. "Then why are there still tools out?"  "I was angry that you wanted me to do it," he sheepishly confessed.

How much of our understanding of things has as much to do with our will as it does with our mental capacity?

How much of what God commands us to do has as much to do with accomplishing something as it has to do with teaching us His ways?
"Diamond learned to drive all the sooner that he had been accustomed to do what he was told, and could obey the smallest hint in a moment.  Nothing helps one to get on like that.  Some people don't know how to do what they are told; they have not been used to it, and they neither understand quickly nor are able to turn what they do understand into action quickly.  With an obedient mind one learns the rights of things fast enough; for it is the law of the universe, and to obey is to understand." (Ibid)

Friday, June 1, 2012


You have not chosen me.
I have chosen you,
appointed you
to produce 
good fruit
from the lives that you live,
fruit that will last.

Identity    Purpose   Validation

What's not to like about following this man?