Friday, July 10, 2009

God's Purpose, Part 2

So lets flesh this out a little more. Sometimes we want to know God's purpose because of our pride and greed - "Jesus loves you but I'm his favorite". But that might be painting with with a really broad brush. Lots of people read Rick Warren, not all of them are so egocentric.

I think some are searching for God's purpose because they really want to know. But they are searching for God's will in the wrong place. It's almost like going to see a palm reader, or a tarot card reader, or checking your horoscope. From time to time people contemplate major life changes: school, marriage, job, children, location, etc. These are big things. They are intimidating things. People want to know if they make the change and go back to school, change jobs, get married will God still bless them.

Of course He will. But not because you finally found "His will for your life". God does have a will. Here it is: obey the commandments (love God, love your neighbor), and die to yourself and be saved for the sake of Jesus.

But we freak out. Stuff doesn't always go the right way. Sometimes people make a change and get stressed out, loose money, get too busy, depressed, whatever. We really want to avoid those bad things. We think that if we can tap in to God's master plan we can avoid that stuff. Good luck. It's a sinful world. Bad stuff happens. But that doesn't get in the way of God's will.

Read Ephesians 1. God loves you. He chose you from the beginning of the world. He sent his Son to die in your place on the cross for your sin. You will go to heaven. That's God's plan for your life. That's God's will. We spend so much time worrying about His plan and purpose in this life that we make it way more complicated that it needs to be. Read the Commandments. Confess your sin. Believe in the God/Man hanging on the cross for you and be saved.

Don't forget to vote

Okay, so my wife and I have this ongoing, friendly feud. She thinks the blog name "Straight Schlueter" is really lame. I think it's awesome. She has been wanting to make the decision democratic and place a voting widget on the site. So there it is just off to your right. Go ahead and vote (all 3 of you who read my blog - at least I'm hoping there are 3 so that someone can cast a deciding ballot). Oh, and just so you know, I still think the name is awesome so this election might as well be taking place in Iran.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jesus loves you, but I'm his favorite!

"Jesus loves you, but I'm his favorite!" I saw that stuck to the back of a minivan the other day. I had to stop and take notice. You see lots of bumper stickers that say "Jesus loves you" "Smile God loves you" or other such nondescript niceties about the love of Jesus. This one was unique in its cynicism, yet also unique in its honesty.

I say unique in its honesty because isn't that what the sinner in us truly wants to believe? Sure Jesus might love you. Sure he loves everyone. But He loves me the most. Isn't that what's behind this "purpose driven" craze that has invaded the church?

Call me cynical, but I believe that it is. We are not content that Jesus simply love us, that he simply give us heaven for free, that he simply wash us clean from our sins. We want more. We want life with meaning. We want life with a purpose. (And if we were truly honest, we want, no... I want Jesus to give to me a purpose that Jesus hasn't given to you!)

Let's be honest. We want to be special. We want to be the favorite. We want to be numbered among those spiritual elites who have found their purpose. We want to be the guy who puts his arm around the less fortunate brother who doesn't have a purpose and tell him we'll pray for him, we want the smug satisfaction of knowing that we have found that one place that God wants us to be and that we are living a glorious life as the result of it. Isn't that what's it's all about? A glorious life? A favored life? An I'm-better-and-more-chosen-than-you kind of life?

Truth be told, God does have a plan and he does have a purpose; but not the type of plan that most of us are looking for. (Isaiah 55:8) God's plan is salvation. God's plan is that your sinful will and mine be broken and that we be turned to Him in sorrow for sin and then turned to Him in faith for salvation. God's plan is that we be saved from this world of sin and be sealed for eternity. And God's love is too great to be so exclusive. It is his free gift for you and not just for you but for the whole world. (1 Timothy 2:6; 1 John 2:2)