Tag Archives: Luke

Lessons from Zacchaeus: Lost and Found

 

Luke 19:1-10

1Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. 

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” 

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. 

Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” 

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” 

 

I love the story of Zacchaeus. I love the lessons in it. The truth that if you want God to change your life, He can, and will. Zacchaeus knew what he was. He knew what people thought about him. But he wanted Jesus. He wanted to change. So how does he teach us to do that? 

  • Lesson 1: Want to see Jesus, no matter what it takes. (v. 3) 
  • Lesson 2: Put your pride aside. It would have to be a humbling experience to be so small that you have to climb a tree to see. (v. 4) 
  • Lesson 3: Accept His invitation and answer His call. Jesus calls to us, but few answer. Be willing to accept and answer. (v. 5) 
  • Lesson 4: Meet Him with excitement and joy. This is your Savior! Be excited about Him, be excited about salvation! (v. 6) 
  • Lesson 5: Let Him find you and change you. He can. (v. 8, 10) 

So there you have it, five simple lessons from Zacchaeus. They worked for him, I’m sure they can work for us too. Zacchaeus was lost, until he found the Jesus that had been looking for him. 

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Critical Christians

I’m going to pick on someone a little bit. If you’re reading this, I love you!

I posted something on Facebook one day and I had a misspelled word or something. I’m that person, so immediately I got onto Facebook to correct it. And as I finished I had a comment from someone, almost immediately, on the correction I needed to make.

My response: while I was correcting, you were criticizing. I use this example, not to call out anyone, but to call out everyone, because that’s what we do. We criticize, not knowing that that person is making corrections…

Jesus set a great example of patience with people. I don’t think He ever expected anyone to immediately get everything right in their lives. I think He knew that mankind typically required a process of change. And when I think about Jesus, I often think of the criticism of the Pharisees. They had more to say about the people Jesus hung around than anyone. They couldn’t believe He would interact with tax collectors and harlots, people who in their opinion, were filth.

But in such a rush to criticize both Jesus and these people, they missed the fact that meeting Jesus made them want to correct their lifestyles. They watched other people’s salvation stories when they could have had their own. They missed the opportunity to congratulate instead of critique. The opportunity to commend instead of condemn.

I’m afraid that even today, we will still miss it. We’ll miss an opportunity to join Jesus at work or to praise His work because we’re too busy wondering why He’s wasting time on them. We’ll get so sidetracked on who God is working through that we miss the fact that He is working.

It’s not my job to wonder if God is making the right choice. It’s my job to know He is. So when He chooses someone’s life to correct, it would be good to not criticize them. But it would be best to congratulate them.

Luke 19:1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.  There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich.  He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”

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Need to serve

I imagine there were a few moments in the life of Jesus that He said, “God, help me.” Let’s think about it. In some of the most serious moments of discussion and conversation His followers were debating their own importance.

Luke 22:20-24 (NLT)

After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.

“But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me. For it has been determined that the Son of Man must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays him.” The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.

Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them.

OK, so Jesus just told His disciples He was going to die and one of them was the betrayer that would make it possible. And what’s the topic of discussion amongst the disciples, which of them is the greatest?

I imagine Jesus thinking, are you kidding me right now? I just set an example. I just washed your feet. I displayed the importance of service. I’m about to die! And you’re arguing over who might be the greatest? 

But, wait a minute. Don’t we? Whose church sings the best? Whose programs are the best? Who gave the most money? Who has the most members? Let’s compare.

Why?

We have a human nature to associate greatness with accomplishments. Greatness with followers. Greatness with stuff. And God is saying, whoa, whoa, whoa! Greatness is none of those things. Greatness is sacrifice. Greatness is service. Greatness is my example. So unless you walk in my example, you will never walk in true greatness.

The greatest amongst us don’t need to be told. They only have a need to serve.

 

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Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!

time

Teach us to make the most of our time that we may grow in wisdom. – Psalm 90:12  (NLT)

It takes time. Don’t we hate hearing that? We don’t want to hear about how long it takes. Nobody wants to take the time, we just want it to be done. We want to hear that the journey was tough, but short. We don’t want to hear that it was 10 years before you found your dream job.

Who likes hearing, it takes time to process the check? Or it takes time to heal? What about, it takes time to work your way up? We don’t want to hear that, much less believe it.

Nobody wants to hear that Abraham was 100 before he had his promised son (Genesis 21:5). Nobody wants to hear that the Israelites wandered for 40 years (Joshua 5:6). Who thinks about the fact that Jesus was on the earth three decades before we have any documentation of His preaching ministry (Luke 3:23)?

Ain’t nobody got time to hear that, right? There’s just not enough time for our microwave society. But, if you don’t make time for, you’re certainly not going to have time to undo what you’ve already mistakenly done.

It is my belief that God is so at work that we just can’t contain all that He is doing in our time frame. God is doing something life changing in His way and we want it momentarily to happen in our way. I believe that when God does what He has planned, we won’t mind the time that He took to nurture and prepare us for it.

See, I still believe that the process is the glory. And when I rush the process, I effect the product. Now, whose got time for an unfinished, untested product?

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Spiritual Cutlery: Keeping a Sharp Mind, Part 1

Spiritual Cutlery: Keeping a Sharp Mind                                                                                       October 12, 2016

Spiritual growth is matching my practice with my position. My position in Christ is perfect. I need to progress in my practical life in a way that is commensurate with my position. – John MacArthur

Tonight, we will talk about practical ways to keep our minds sharp as we grow in Christ. Bible study is great, but face it, it’s not enough. You need something to get you by when Wednesday and Sunday are too far away. So let’s look at 5 things we can/should do in the meantime for our own sharp growth.

Input = Output

1) Pray – No time to pray makes you easy prey.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17img_4976

Pray always. This is communication with your Creator, no priest necessary! Take advantage of it!

  • Luke 5:16 – If Jesus had to withdraw to pray, don’t we need to?
  • Luke 22:43 – In prayer strength is received.

Prayer needs to be the first thing you do every day. You got to pray! (Thank you, MC Hammer)

2) Quiet Time – Sit down, shut up, and listen.

  • Psalm 46:10

Rick Warren – (1) Be quiet before the Lord, (2) Pray briefly, (3) Read scripture slowly, (4) Meditate on it, (5) Write down what you discover, and (6) Pray again

Adrian Rogers- (1) Proper period, (2) proper preparation, (3) proper place, (4) proper provision (materials), and (5) proper procedure

  • As the saying goes, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

3) Read – “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

  • Benefits: Better memory. Better focus. Slows down the progress of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
  • Reading is fundamental.
  • These benefits are for reading in general, not even referencing biblical reading.

Benefits for Spiritual Reading: It is a subject matter for prayer; Used to attack evil thoughts;

Lift thoughts to divine matters.

  • Joshua 1:8; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Psalm 119:105; 1 Timothy 4:13

Most importantly, it is a gift to read God’s Word.

Side note: People died for our rights to literacy. Don’t let it be in vain.

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Unrequited Grace

God has really been dealing with me on grace. Can I be honest? It’s been a tough lesson. The struggle has been real for me.

It’s easy to say extend grace. But I don’t think people really know what that means. That doesn’t mean let things slide. Grace is not an excuse to avoid discipline. Grace is unmerited favor, not a disciplinary substitute.

Max Lucado says “it was grace that led the Samaritan to open a tab at the local inn in his name to care for the Jewish man that was beaten and left to die.” (Luke 10:30-37).

Grace goes above and beyond. In today’s terms, grace doesn’t just cook. It sets the table and washes the dishes too.

And even though I now know what grace is, it’s still hard to give. It feels like the more grace I give, the more vulnerable I become. And the more vulnerable I become the more I seem to be hurt by it. However, in the lesson of grace God has reminded me that just because I’m extending grace doesn’t mean that everyone else is.

People speak of unrequited love, but I speak of unrequited grace. And just like love, it doesn’t matter if it’s returned, it should still be given. The way grace works is that it’s given regardless of the who, what, when, where, and how.

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Leap Year

Luke 1:41-45 (NLT)

At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.

The passage above is one of my favorites. I mean, think about it. An unborn baby (the baby is alive in the womb) jumped for joy the instance Elizabeth heard the voice of Mary. Mary didn’t lay hands on her. She didn’t do anything for her. She spoke.

Isn’t that amazing? Is that not outstanding that Mary was so filled with the Holy Spirit that the very sound of her voice filled the baby within someone else with joy?

And the more I think about it, that’s a glowing example of how we are supposed to be as Christians. Something within people should cause them to leap with joy because of our Spirit-filled lives. And unfortunately, that hasn’t been happening.

When a Christian enters a room, other Christians should feel strengthened and empowered and anything that isn’t of God should feel threatened. If you aren’t a threat to Satan, chances are you’re not much of a thrill in your Kingdom work right now. Demons shouldn’t feel comfortable in your company.

I want people to leap when I enter. They should leap for joy of being empowered, or leap because the ungodly Spirit can’t stand to be around the godly Spirit in me. Where Christians are empowered, demons should be uncomfortable. And I don’t want it because of me, but because of what’s in me, the Holy Spirit.

Now that’s a true Leap Year.

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