If it doesn't count for Christ, it doesn't count.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tell Yourself, Dent!

It is amazing how God takes those stupid things we do and uses them to teach us some very profound lessons.  You will probably see many posts here at CrossConnected resulting from a lesson learned from a stupid turn.  I seem to get a lot of those!

I'll make what could be a long story short so as not to bore you with details. Suffice it to say that I did something stupid on I-55 the other day that resulted in some hard braking on my part. No contact, no bent metal, no one hurt, except for one bruised ego. (I pride myself on my driving since I drive better than anyone else temporarily in front of me.) This happened around 8:30 am.

The thing is, I drive a red truck, one of few-to-none traveling the same route I drive every day. This means that, if anyone else is paying attention, I am "that guy" in the red truck as opposed to one of those many guys in the white or beige truck. In other words, I don't blend in, and cannot easily be mistaken for someone else. My good driving may go unnoticed, but my poor driving shows up in bright red. I try to be conscious of this fact . . . but, sometimes I forget.  So, I'm out there showing everyone around me what kind of person I am by my actions behind the wheel of my vehicle. (That's the only basis any of them have for forming an opinion of me.)

What they see that big bright red truck do, though, is not so much a concern to me as what they see in that small Christian emblem on my tail gate. It probably doesn't say much when my driving is at its best. By that I mean that I don't think anyone is noticing what a good Christian I am because of my excellent driving. I do fear that it speaks volumes when my driving is not what it should be. "What kind of a Christian is he?" "Well, he can't be much of a Christian driving like that!" "etc."

On my return trip at the end of the day, as I passed by the spot in the road where my stupidity had taken me in a direction that I had not wanted to go,  I was again praising God and thanking Him that my earlier actions had been of no physical consequence.  I glanced in my rear view mirror, as I had been doing all day, and there was a message intended for that particular place at that particular time. It had to be, as this was the umpteenth time I had gazed into that mirror that day, and had not seen the message..

You see, I have another "Christian symbol" inside my truck. It is a tiny wooden cross that normally dangles from my mirror, . . . there for anyone who will look to see.  "Look at me. I'm a Christian!"

Certainly it had been there since my morning antics. But, if so, why hadn't I seen it? The little cross that normally dangles a good 5 - 6 inches below my mirror was now resting  in the center of the mirror itself! Whether it was the force of my hard brake much earlier in the day, or whether it was the hand of God Himself who placed it there, my little symbol to the world, the thing that I had used to say  "Look at me. I'm a Christian!" had flipped up and over and landed there in the mirror for no one other than myself to see.

The message was immediate, loud, and clear . . . and simple.  "Dent," (that's actually what my daddy used to call me, but maybe Jesus does, too,) "Dent, those people out there don't need to see some symbol of who you want them to think you are. They need to see the real thing. The only way you can show Me to them is for them to see Me in you!  So, here is something for you to look at. Keep your eye on the cross! Stay focused on Me! That's what I want them to see."

"Yessir, Lord."

Galatians 2:20 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Dennis (or should I say "Dent"?)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Welcome to CrossConnected

This is a blog that I created mostly for our Sunday School class, but, just like our class, anyone is welcome here to read and comment.

CrossConnected is the name of my Sunday School class at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Byram, MS.  Our name comes from Jesus' prayer in the Upper Room on the night before He was to be crucified.

John 17:23 (New King James Version)23 ". .. I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one . . ."

When an individual comes to the cross and accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, a connection is instantly created. The Holy Spirit comes into them, filling a place left void in humanity from the moment sin entered the world with Adam's act of disobedience. They are connected with Jesus. He is their personal Savior, Lord of their life.  They are connected with God. ("I in them, and You in Me . . ." They are connected with every other Christian in existence. ( ". . . that they may be made perfect in One.")  We are One. We're not perfect yet, but we are One, being made perfect by the work of Jesus Christ in us. We are connected by Jesus Christ by way of His sacrifice on our behalf on the Cross. We are connected by the cross. We are CrossConnected!

We each are uniquely and wonderfully made!  We were created different from one another. Satan has been quite successful in taking the things that make us different, our differentness, if I may, and turning those into differences, which come between us and divide us and tear us apart. This does not have to be so for Christians, and, indeed, it should not be so. It does not matter who we are, where we are from, what our background is, what our financial status is, what our race, sex, or ethnicity is. None of the myriad of things that make us different from one another matters. Our Lord is working to make us "perfect in One". That is His work within The Body, but we should all stop from time to time and ask ourselves, "Am I working against Him? Do I see the difference, or do I see the connection?"   

I'll leave you for now with this:

1 Corinthians 13:10-13 (New International Version)

10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

God Himself is love. Jesus suffered immeasurably and died for us because of His love for us. I've said that I am not sure just what it means for us to be One, nor what being made perfect in One entails. But, that does not keep me from believing that it starts with love. . . Christ's love in us, and through us.