no condemnation

Beer with Jesus!

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and people say, ‘Look at him! He’s a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ “Yet, wisdom is proved right by its actions.” Matthew 11:19 Gods Word Translation
This verse is the quintessential picture of the unplugged Jesus. We see here no pews, no stained glass, no sound or projection systems, not even any worship sets or sermons. There are people, but they are not dressed in their Sunday best, and they are not quiet and reverent. And yet here, in what appears to be the most non-religious of settings if not even irreligious, Jesus is not only present, but He is an active participant in engaging relationships. In the process He is listening, being moved with compassion and dispensing as only He can, His mercy, wisdom and healing grace.
There is a country music song out right now that has hit the charts entitled “If I Could Have a Beer with Jesus.” I fell in love with the song the first time I heard it. Some people might be surprised to hear that, knowing I am a believer in Jesus and a pastor besides. But I did and here’s is why. And it is related directly with this verse out of Matthew 11:19. For me the lyrics capture in a disarming way the genuine heart cry resonating deeply within the soul of both believer and unbeliever, to relate to a Jesus free from religious and judgmental stereotypes.
I was not surprised to hear Thomas Rhett, who wrote and performs the song, quoted as saying “Every time I play that song live, a lot of people will cry.” And listen to what Rhett reveals next. “I’ve had a preacher come up to me saying, ‘Man, I would love to get you up to Wisconsin and sing that song at our church service.’” My sentiments exactly! Except Thomas, why not just skip the Cheesehead state and come directly to Viking Land?
Why are people crying when they hear a song about a guy wishing he could sit down with Jesus in a quiet corner of a bar, “order up a couple of tall ones,” ask Him about some of life’s persistent questions and “be sure to let Him do the talkin”?

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The secret to getting up again

The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. (Proverbs 24:16 NLT)

Two winters ago I was on a jog through our neighborhood after a light dusting of snow. Just one block from home I slipped on a hidden patch of ice and went sprawling forward onto the sidewalk. It was a jarring experience and after confirming nothing was broken I picked myself up and gingerly walked the rest of the way home. That fall caused me to change my winter running habits. I made a decision then and there to limit my running to indoors on a treadmill unless the footing outside was clearly ice free.

Falls are scary because of the potential harm they can wreck in a person’s life. As true as that is for physical stumbles, it is often even more impacting with spiritual ones. For one thing spiritual falls are more common. And the nature of spiritual falls frequently hinders people from getting back up and running again.

There are many causes for spiritual stumbles. Sin of course tops the list. But things like relationship conflicts, worldly distractions, disappointments and a failure to maintain spiritual disciplines all contribute to causing slips and trips spiritually. Spiritual stumbles lead to discouragement, condemnation and ultimately feeling estranged from God. All that contributes to a sense of unworthiness which is probably the biggest factor hindering a person from recovering from a stumble.

Overcoming all that can be a challenge. But there is a secret to getting back up again. And it has to do with understanding what it means to have our spiritual identity “in Christ.” Spiritual falls, much more frequently than physical falls, cause us to have spiritual amnesia. It is as if every time we take a spiritual tumble we hit our head, and as a result forget who we are.

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