Stop Pushing Me!

Today, I heard a boy yell at his younger sister, “I have a right to push you because you’re not moving,”

… a right to push you.

… because you’re not moving.

I’m sure upon hearing this some would quickly join suit and overtly blurt out an emphatic preach it. There would be others in the crowd who would defensively disagree citing that each person has a right to do whatever they want to do and shouldn’t be pushed by another.

What side would you fall?

What I didn’t tell you about the story was the context. The girl was actually behind her mom, who was behind another person, who was behind a long line of people waiting patiently to exit the airplane parked with closed doors at the airport terminal.

Flawed Logic
To be fair, this boy might not have been able to see the stagnant line in front of his sister. However, his reasoning was flawed—he pushed his sister because she was not moving. He never even bothered to consider why. He just tried to make what he thought should be happening happen.

I’m sure he was uncomfortable after the 1 hour 20 minute flight from Dallas to Kansas City . . . weren’t we all?!? I’m sure he didn’t like being behind his younger sister . . . who would?!? However, was pushing his sister going to help him get off the plane any faster . . . no.

Pushy People
I am not a big fan of the pusher. Pushers don’t take the time to think through the perspectives of others. They don’t care if there are obstacles in the way. All they see is the fact that those around them aren’t going where they want them to go, and try to assert their will. This doesn’t often turn out well and causes many negative feelings and resentments down the road.

A Better Way
Maybe a better way of helping someone take that next step is to INVITE them, not push them. When you invite someone to move, it means you’re moving too—and most often already a step ahead. Inviting takes control out of the equation and merely gives others an opportunity to take the next step. The choice is theirs. Most people appreciate an invitation to something worthwhile.

Think about someone proposing marriage. The suitor takes a knee and invites his dream girl to a lifelong journey in marriage together. If he pushes, or does this in front of a family reunion or live T.V., he could have a mess on his hands. However, an invitation shows respect, love, and genuine care from the beginning no matter how the other person answers.

Eternal Invitations
Jesus was a perfect example in this area. He invited the disciples with the simple phrase, “Come, and follow me.” The disciples had a choice. They put down their nets and followed. The rich young ruler also had a choice, but even as he walked away the scripture tells us that Jesus didn’t chase him, but rather loved him.

Jesus loved him while letting him walk away.

Today, if you find yourself pushing, why not take the first step yourself. If you are already ahead, then simply invite others to join you. They may say no. That’s okay because controlling someone isn’t the same as loving someone, and pushing someone doesn’t necessarily help them move forward.


Follow Me: Part 1 "Wanna Die?"

John 21:17-19, “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19(This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” (ESV)

Jesus basically tells Peter, who just for the record loves Jesus, that he was going to die a vicious death, but it would glorify God. Next words out of His mouth are “Follow me.”

Following Jesus is difficult. Anyone that tells you differently is lying or they are trying to sell you something. Now I am not talking about the way McChristians (consumer Christians) follow Jesus, but rather the ones that want to follow Jesus with everything, not just when it is convenient.

You see, Jesus never said easy things to attract people to follow Him. You hear things like “die daily” “pick up your cross” “sell all and follow me” “narrow is the road to righteousness, few find it” …

In no measure would I consider myself a “hell, fire and brimstone” prea-cha, but reality is that we sometimes luke out the message of the Gospel. Yes, God loves everyone and will accept the vilest person who honestly confesses and turns from their wicked ways by putting faith in Christ, but to say the Christian life with Christ is easy and just about living a life filled with blessings is a lie. Sorry.

It’s a hard call, but by far the most fulfilling. A person that follows in the way of Jesus will have a life filled with purpose. A life filled with meaning. You just can’t get that from one hour a week sitting passively in a service that doesn’t even convict you. It’s time to speak the truth. Jesus wants us to die… so we might really live.

It’s not a broad road.
It is a narrow path.
Few find it.

Keith Green rang true with the words to “To Obey is Better than Sacrifice”

To obey is better than sacrifice
I don’t need your money, I want your life
And I hear you say that I’m coming back soon
But you act like I’ll never return

Well you speak of grace and my love so sweet
How you thrive on milk, but reject My meat
And I can’t help weeping of how it will be
If you keep on ignoring My words
Well you pray to prosper and succeed
But your flesh is something I just can’t feed

To obey is better than sacrifice
I want more than Sunday and Wednesday nights
Cause if you can’t come to Me every day
Then don’t bother coming at all

To obey is better than sacrifice
I want hearts of fire, not your prayers of ice
And I’m coming quickly to give back to you
According to what you have done

The Devil Lives There: Part 2

I want you to imagine for a moment a set of parents. Now these parents have an only child and because of this they are super protective. They are so protective that they refuse to have an oven in the house for fear of their child getting burned.

This child will grow up never knowing the joy of coming home to freshly baked cookies, a hot meal, or even a home-made open-faced turkey sandwich (I’m hungry, can you tell?). The child will also never learn to interact with an oven correctly. He will either become scared of the oven completely and never get near it (evil oven), burn himself until he learns how to use it correctly, or read on the Internet or ask a friend how to use an oven without getting burned. If the latter, he could then start an adventure that could lead to a wonderful relationship between himself and the “hot” oven. He doesn’t have to worship the oven, but it sure would help get some good hot food.

A major problem in Christianity today is we tend to shelter ourselves into a “Christian” lifestyle. We find ourselves listening to Christian music as we read our Christian book as we sit in our Christian bookstore. We try on different Christian shirts and buy Christian music and only go to Christian events. We stick a Jesus fish on our car that we will only take to the mechanic with the Jesus fish on his sign and get a bill with a Jesus fish on it as well.

We just avoid the “evil oven” all together because we have been told many times that it will burn us and we are scared or maybe we’ve been told “the devil lives there”.

It is important for a follower of Christ to be exposed to certain things in culture in order to learn to discern. If a disciple is always told not to listen to do something because it might “defile” them, then that disciple will never learn to hear the voice and conviction of God on his own. There is timing and maturity involved, but eventually we need to grow in our faith enough to know what it means to be IN the world but not OF it.

Like the girl mentioned in part 1, she was able to recognize her area of temptation and avoid it because of her love for God and desire to stay pure. She didn’t call a boycott of basements. She didn’t have people picket near the door. She didn’t tell everyone else they couldn’t go into their basements. She simple lived life in response to her love for God and that inspired girls around her to make wise decisions following in her example.

There are some good hot meals out there to enjoy, but make sure you use an oven-mitt before taking some of them out of the oven and definitely don’t go near the oven with a gas leak because the devil might live there.

The Devil Lives There: Part 1

While I was working as manager of Homer’s Coffeehouse a few years back, one of my co-workers told me a story about her friend. Apparently, her friend was in a dating relationship and trying to stay pure despite her own temptations. She came to the conclusion that to intentionally go to a place where it would be easy to give into temptation was a bad idea. Smart teenager. Therefore, she decided she would not go into her basement room to watch TV alone with her boyfriend because in her words, “The devil lives there!”

Obviously she doesn’t mean that the devil literally chose to kick it in her basement rather than yours or mine. She was just recognizing her areas of weakness reflecting the thought that when we put ourselves in a place of temptation the devil can get a foothold through our own fleshly desires.

Pride comes before a fall, and to think we can put ourselves in areas of weakness because “it’s not a sin” is usually a precursor to what we affectionately call FAMOUS LAST WORDS.

Of course it’s not a sin to go in to a dark basement room and watch TV with someone you love. But if we are wanting to live a life of purity then it stands to reason that maybe we need to set aside our own rights at times in order to help protect us from ourselves. I mean, how long can an ex-alcoholic hang out in a bar without the temptation getting the best of him?

“I’m justa try-un to reach peoples heres in the tavuuuurn.” – sure you are buddy, but how easy is it to blow your testimony and give people more ammo to call Christians hypocrites. If you know that place is your area of temptation for you, maybe you should try to reach people elsewhere.

Situations vary for individuals, but the key is to be honest before God and heed the warnings and convictions of the Holy Spirit working in your life.

Proverbs 6:27 says, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?”

Lesson#1: Putting yourself in a place of temptation is basically getting a lap-dance from the devil.

Remember this next time you find yourself standing up for your rights to be in tempting situations and think twice remembering that “the devil lives there” and he might just be waiting for you!