Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween: Remove Your Mask

The Nerd O Lantern
2008 Pumpkin Carving Winner

I thought this was a funny picture to post.  It got your attention, didn't it?

No, I am not going to tell you whether or not Halloween is suitable for Christians.  I have heard many reasons why Christians think it's okay for their children to go Trick or Treating...

"We don't let our kids dress up as scary goblins, witches or demons.  They dress up as animals or bible characters."

"We don't celebrate Halloween, per se.  We just let our kids get candy."

"We only let our kids celebrate the "Fall Festival" that our church does as an alternative to Halloween."

My motive isn't to talk about the origin, the meaning behind Halloween or even share bible verses that talks about staying away from such traditions.  That's for a different time.

I want to discuss the masks we wear when we are around other believers and the mask we wear when we are talking to God.

Here is a story I want to share with you from Ron Hutchcraft, "I had to stop at a convenience store one Halloween night. No, not to trick or treat, just to pay for the gas I had just put in my car. That's when I saw this interesting sign they had posted - a sign I had never seen anywhere else before. It simply said, "Please remove your mask before you enter." ... Obviously, they didn't want someone to try to pull off a Halloween heist, wearing a mask that would conceal their identity from the security cameras. I didn't see anyone in the store that night with a mask."

What if there was a sign above the entrance doors of your church that said, "PLEASE REMOVE YOUR MASK BEFORE YOU ENTER."?

When we come to worship God we say we want to experience God's glory.  Well, God wants to see us in all our glory as well. Naked.  Spiritually naked before His throne.  Exposing all our sins, all our faults and confess our issues with Him.  "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."  Hebrews 4:13 (NIV)

You see, God doesn't care about our religion or our religious jargon.  He doesn't want us to pretend we have it all together.  Pretending our life is fine.  He wants to know what's at the heart of the matter.  What's discouraging us- what we are struggling with today- He desires for us share every detail of our lives with Him.

God expects the same when we have conversations with other believers.  1 Corinthians 12:25-26 says God wants us to Weep as one and Celebrate as one.  “So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

In God's family, it's OKAY!  It's okay to share you're having a bad day.  It's okay to admit your mistakes.  It's okay to say your marriage is failing.  It's okay to show you don't have it all together.

It's OKAY!  It's Okay to celebrate with one another.  It's okay to be happy about your new car.  It's okay to share you lost 10 pounds.  It's okay to shout "Hallelujah" because God is good!

Come to God with honesty and show everyone the authentic and true YOU!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How Much Do You Love Me?

Whenever my wife asks our 3 year old son, "Do you love me?" His response is, "Yes!"

My wife will say, "How much do you love me?"
In the mind of a 3 year old who doesn't understand how to measure the width and depth of his love (or maybe he does), will often answer by saying, "Three thousand worlds!"

"How much do you love me - three thousand worlds!" Boy, I don't need to tell you how that makes mommy feel! Her face lights up and she gets the biggest smile on her face every time. The warmth and the love she feels makes all the craziness- all the chaos of life worth while.

I believe when you ask God, "Do you love me?" He will always say, "YES!"
"How much do you love me, God?"
"More than anything in the entire Galaxy!"

I John 4:7-11 (NIV)
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

God chose it. Jesus died for it. We need to share it!