The Complicated Color of White

White.

You’d think it was a simple color.

Until you start counting how many shades of white are in a picture like this… (go ahead, start counting)

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White’s complicated…

Or, maybe we’ve made white complicated.

We’ve given white shades and “interpretations”.

We’ve made white “relative.”

(Just Google “shades of white” and you’ll see what I mean).

It used to be that the color white represented purity or cleanliness.

Going back a few thousand years or so, a guy named David used the color white to represent the ultimate soul cleansing.

After a major lapse in moral judgement involving a woman named Bathsheba, David felt dirty.

Sin had left him feeling like snow on the side of the road…still white, but much darker (not to mention, dirtier).

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So, David pulled out his journal, and wrote this to God…

“Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow…remove the stain of my guilt.  Create in me a clean heart , O God.”  (Psalms 51:7-10)

David wasn’t content just being a shade of white…

Any sin in his life represented a shade of white that he didn’t want to be.

White wasn’t complicated.

The problem is that we’ve made white complicated by making excuses for sin.

Sin has shades…

(As in, “A little sin is okay…it’s not like I’m ever going to be perfect anyway.”)

Sin has interpretations.

(As in, “A little sin is okay…it’s helping me be culturally relevant.”)

Sin is relative.

(As in, “A little sin is okay…it’s not like I’m addicted or anything.”)

What about you?

Have you made white complicated?

Are you content just being a shade of white?

Or, do you need to be honest with God and have some stains removed?

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A Sideways Life

Sideways.

The sled went sideways.

Off track.

All those hours of sacrifice, hard work, and training…

And, the race was over in the first five seconds.

It was hard to watch, because you knew how much of his life this Olympian had dedicated to his sport.

All the sacrifices.

All the injuries.

All the travel.

All the work.

And, a sideways sled took it all away in seconds.

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I don’t know about you, but I often feel like I live a sideways life.

I get off track.

I make a bad decision.

I stop paying attention to details.

And, my life starts to go sideways.

But, this is where my life is different than that Olympian’s.

My “race” isn’t over when my life goes sideways.

I may get off track.

I may make a bad decision.

I may get distracted and lose focus.

But, my life isn’t over because…

I have hope.

I have peace.

I have a reason to keep going.

Why?

Because, I’m not living my life for things that can be measured and lost in seconds.

I’m living for eternity.

And, I’ve dedicated my life to a God who can take my sideways life, put it back on track, and make it count for stuff that matters.

What are you living for?

If your life was like a race and it ended today, would it have mattered?

I Corinthians 9:25

25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

Jesus: Madman or Messiah?

Prophet.

Teacher.

Hippie carpenter.

Magician.

Madman.

Messiah.

Son of God.

There’s a lot of opinions out there about who Jesus is.  Nothing new really…

Even when Jesus walked on the face of this earth, there was a lot of opinions about Him.

So, I guess the bigger question is, who do you say Jesus is?

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In his classic book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes…

“There is no patronizing nonsense about Jesus Christ being just a good moral teacher.  Either this man was, and is the Son of God, or else He is a madman or something worse.  You can choose to spit at Him, shut Him up, and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and Savior.  He did not leave any other options available to us.  He did not intend to.”

The answer to this question isn’t about whether or not you believe that Jesus is real.  Or, even that Jesus died on a cross and then beat death three days later.

It comes down to a choice.

Picking sides.

Drawing a line in the sand.

Putting a stake in the ground.

You’re either for Jesus or you’re against Jesus.

No fence sitting.

No pretending.

No jumping on the Jesus bandwagon.

Who do you say Jesus is?

The answer to this question is really about who’s side you’re on when all is said and done.

“16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.”

(John 3:16-18) (NLT)

Training for Eternity

I love the Olympics.

In just a handful of days, the 2014 Winter Olympics will start in Sochi, Russia.  Athletes from all over the world will travel to compete in an event they have trained for…and trained for…and trained for.

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Think about the number of hours that the average Olympic athlete trains for an event that can last minutes.

In his book, Outliers, Malcom Gladwell, argues that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a sport or a field of study.

10,000 hours for an event that lasts minutes…

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What are you training for?

What are you pouring the hours of your life into?

If you live 70 years on this earth, you have 613,200 hours to train for something.

But, think about this…

If you’re a Jesus follower, you’re not training for an event that last minutes.

You’re training for eternity.

“Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness.  Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.”  (I Timothy 4:7b-8)  (NLT)