Do You Have the Midas Touch

In Greek Mythology there is a story about King Midas. He was supposedly “blessed” with the ability to turn anything he touched into gold. He enjoyed this new power for a while. But, when he sat down to eat, he inadvertently turned his food and drink into gold when he touched it. And, finally he accidently turned his beloved daughter into gold when he touched her. He quickly despised this new gift and asked to be relieved of its power.

 

Recently, I was studying the scriptures about how Jesus healed people. He rarely healed anyone in the exact same way. His preferred method was to touch them. One time there was a man with a withered hand that Jesus simply instructed to stretch it out and when he did, it was healed. So, Jesus didn’t have to touch people when He healed them. But, He preferred to.

 

I am especially moved by the occasion when a leper came to Jesus and wanted to be made clean. Notice he didn’t say healed, he said made clean, implying more than just healing. Lepers not only had a physical disease but the stigma and shame of being publicly unclean. They were contagiouMidas Touchs and could not touch anyone. They were restricted in their public activities and when they were in public, they would have to scream “Unclean, unclean” so that everyone would know they were present. In fact, if a priest (who were in charge of declaring someone to be clean or unclean) touched a leper, the priest was made unclean. But, when this leper came to Jesus and asked to be made clean, Jesus touched him. He didn’t just heal him, which He did. He touched him. Not only was the man cured of leprosy, but also the Savior dignified him!

 

Whatever Jesus touched was changed. If they were sick, they were healed. If they were blind, they could now see. If they were dead, they would come to life. Whoever Jesus touched went away with more life than when they got to Jesus. I want to be like that. When I touch someone, I want him or her to walk away from me with more life than they had before they got to me.

 

Last week, I was running on fumes. I was so depleted. I had nothing left to give to anyone. I hate being here and have been here too often. I was painfully aware that I regretted any interaction with another human being. But, I had one more appointment before the weekend. It was with one of our pastors Dustin Price. Thirty minutes into the meeting, I looked at him and said, “You life me. I have more energy now than when I sat down thirty minutes ago.” I had never been that aware of whether people life me or drain me. Now I hope I never forget. I want to be a lifer. Interested in hearing more? Go to http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons/healing-in-his-hands.html

 

 

Follow and Share:

Are You In Between Friends?

 

I was talking to a friend recently and he said to me that he was in a season where he was in between friends. That struck me as an unusual statement. So, I asked him to explain. He said, “When you are in a drug recovery program you have to stop hanging out with your old friends. It is just something you have to do”. Which reminds me of an old saying I heard about people working through recovery. It goes like this:

 

No old play things

No old playgrounds

No old playmates

 

I think that advice would work for most of us.

 

My friend went on to say, “So you have to cut off your old friends and it takes time to make new friends. There is about a 6-month period where you have no friends. You are in between friends”.

 

To-have-friends-be-a-friend

 

I had one immediate thought and another that came a day later. The immediate thought was that trying to overcome an addiction must be difficult all by itself, but to do it without friends makes me understand why the success rate is so low. I just can’t imagine how amazingly difficult that must be. My empathy went up for people who fight that battle just from that one conversation.

 

The thought that came to me a day later was I bet that “in between friends” principle works when you are being promoted from one season to another as well. Think about it. For us to make a brave move, change our lives and create a whole new reality, we would have to squelch some of the input from our current friends. They know the old me. They have been very comfortable with the old me and will continually reinforce that version of me.

 

But, when you make your move and have no idea what your doing, you sort of have to go it alone for a while. Don’t you? People can’t really go with you, when you don’t know where you are going…unless they are a rare, friend for life. Are you “in between friends”? If so, it might be uncomfortable but it’s totally normal. You’re probably on the verge of a breakout in your life.

 

I am cheering for you!

 

 

Follow and Share:

A Donkey and a King

Palm Sunday is the day Christians celebrate the Triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem before His crucifixion and resurrection. Today people celebrate with palm branches as part of worship, and it is the one Sunday a year we use the word “Hosanna”.

 

The hero of this story is Christ, of course. But, there is another character that plays an important role in this drama. That is the donkey. At the instruction of Jesus, two disciples are told to find a young donkey, a foal that has never been ridden. Finding one tied up to his momma, the master’s disciples say they have need of him. They loose him and take him to the Lord. Christ is then seated upon him, and rides him into Jerusalem. Such a parade had never been seen by mankind before this. (I think the parade of captives being led to heaven after Jesus’ crucifixion has to be the greatest).

 

I wonder if the little donkey thought, “the Master needs me? I don’t know what I am to do. I have never been ridden before. I am going to mess this up bad. If He only knew what kind of donkey I was, the Master would never want me to carry Him. I am totally unqualified”.

 

But, what if that was exactly what qualified him for this journey, his inexperience? You see, in Donkeythose days horses were reserved for those with money and power. Kings rode horses. Generals rode horses. Throughout Israel’s history, it was the judges who rode on donkeys. In the Book of Judges, we see several examples of Judges riding donkeys, never horses. So as Jesus is riding into Jerusalem, and the crowd is proclaiming Him King, He is also introducing Himself, as our Judge, riding a lowly, never ridden before, donkey. What a beautiful picture of the judge of the universe, not looming over us in a posture of destruction, but unimposing, humbly riding a donkey.

 

Many people make God out to be a mean, impossible judge, waiting to clobber us over the head when we mess up. But, Jesus is not that at all. Yes, He is King, and when He comes to you, things must bow. And, He is our judge, but He approaches us in a manner that we can receive His judgment and change. What a wonderful God. He is so gracious. Don’t reject His judgment, because He offers it to you in the humblest of ways. For more, click on http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons/divine-demonstrations.html

 

Follow and Share:

Racism in the Church

 

Racism exists. If a solution to racial issues is to be found, it must be found within the Body of Christ. Yet we seem to have plateaued or regressed in the progress made the past 50 years.

 

More than a skin color issue, I believe racism is a cultural problem. People are not inherently different because of their skin color. They are different because of the culture they come from and the values that that culture teaches. When people with some similar traits, like skin color, clash, we attribute the friction to race, when it’s really cultural. It is the cultural values we exhibit everyday that create tension and friction between somebody different than ourselves.

 

I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina, a beautiful area that draws a lot of tourists. Many of them come from Florida. During tourist season, locals can walk into the grocery store and point out to you who is a local and who is from Florida just by people’s dress and behavior. Skin color has nothing to do with it.

 

Some people have an experience with Christ and surrender their lives to Him, becoming Christians. But, this act alone doesn’t make us stop being a racist. God has to deal with our hearts and we must learn to navigate our cultural differences. For proof of that, look at how the Hellenistic Jewish widows were treated in Acts chapter 6. They were being discriminated against by those not like them. So a committee was formed to minister to their needs.

 

The Body of Christ is the only place where diverse people can find a common identity that is Racismsuperior to our particular skin color or culture. Our relationship as sons of God trumps our differences, and makes us ‘brothers’.

 

One of the great tragedies is that many white people attend a “white church” and many black people attend a “black church”. Individually, we may be becoming godlier, but this arrangement is not making us less racist. More black people seem willing to join white churches than the other way around. But, because they are in the minority, the affects have been negligible.

 

Our church is predominantly white, though there are some African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans that worship with us. For several years, we had a black worship pastor. I once said that we were a multi-cultural church. He corrected me and said we were multi-racial, but not multi-cultural. We have different races that attend, but the only culture celebrated here is white culture. To be frank, I never understood the difference till recently.

 

All of this is to say, we have a tremendous amount of work to do as the Body of Christ. We cannot expect the world to solve this problem. God’s grace and our desire to love our neighbor as Jesus loves us is our only hope. What would happen if the Body of Christ was color blind?

 

For more visit http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons/ministry-partners.html

 

Follow and Share: