Welcome to the P.J. (Pastor J) Sound Theology Blog

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Honest Christian

Luke 19

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jesus and Zacchaeus

19 He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”

In today's text the people of Jericho had the nerve to become angry with Jesus decision to stay at Zacchaeus home, because most of them were "good" Hebrews and followers of Jehovah who would never be caught PUBLICLY in the company of a sinner like a lowly tax collector. 

Today being a tax collector or working for the IRS is not frowned upon unless it's after April 15th. However in Jesus time Hebrew followers of God did not have to pay tax for religious reasons unless it was forced upon them which was considered horrible and sinful against God.

However as we continue to read the passage we see a truly eye-opening revelation. It's revealed that Zacchaeus, the presumed  tax collector sinner was actually more righteous and honest of a person than the rest of the citizens of Jericho. Zacchaeus was so thirsty just to see Jesus that he climbed a tree, he was so eager to fellowship with Jesus that he welcomed Christ and his whole group into his home. Zacchaeus was so solicitous for a relationship with Jesus and a life change that he immediately gave an offering of half of all that he owned to the marginalized. 

Wait and there's more,  the truest revelation comes next when Zacchaeus reveals that he has not defrauded anyone and if he have ever cheated anyone out of anything let them come forward and he will pay them four times more. WOW! Because of all of this he is offered salvation and a chance to become a believer, the one whom people thought was dishonest was indeed the honest Believer/Christian.

As Christians this type of  passage should inspire us to stop and think especially about those whom we judge and place labels on, we might be judging a Zacchaeus, we might be labeling the honest Christian. What would that say about us? Would we then be like the citizens of Jericho?

Dear God, thank you for challenging us and inspiring us to be better servants of you. Encourage us to inspire others. Amen.

Be Well, Love  Pastor Sirchester

Monday, April 7, 2014

Let others see the difference in you...

Let Others See The Difference In You...

1 Peter 1:22 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

22 Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart.

Can I just be real....? Thanks I will. Over my life I have been hurt and have even had my heart broken by many peoples actions, painful words, gossip and hatred. The awful truth is that in most cases these were people who called themselves faithful Christians, family members and close friends. Sometimes the people that hurt you the most are the people closest to you. After being truly crushed a few years ago I decided that I would never hurt anyone and it became one of my life long endeavors to love and heal, so that no one else would have to feel hurt like I experienced. Therefore it tears me apart inside to this day when I see others hurting loved ones, family members and Kingdom members.

Today's verse taken from Peters first letter to the Church reminds us to Let Others See The Difference In You. Since we are believers and we have been forgiven and reconciled through Jesus, we must let our obedience be shown true by our love for one another. We should be loving deeply from the heart, not the usual surface I love you out of convenience or because of what I aim to gain.

I have boldly decided to love deeply with a radical and in-accusatory love, a non-judgmental love, a you are deserving of it love and a I love you because of your divine connection to God love. Are you able, are you willing to join in and let the difference be seen in you? Coach  John Wooden reminds us that our character is of ultimate importance, "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."

Awesome Creator, please continually inspire your followers to let your true love be seen in us daily. Let us love unashamedly and forgive unapologetic-ally knowing whom we are and how you have called us to live?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Making the request in the right way!

John 14:11-14 (The Message)

11-14 “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.

This morning I am requesting some things from God, things for my life, my wife, our family and our ministry. As I pray and reflected this morning, I was reminded to make the right request and make them in the right way. Many times preachers and teachers twist the scriptures and the words of Jesus found in John 14:14. Where Jesus instructs the believers then and now that anything we ask in his name we will receive. While this is 100% true, we must ask for things that are in accordance to God's will, this is what I call making the right request. Then when we ask for things according to God's will we are invited to ask in Jesus name, this is what i call making the request in the right way. Family trust that God wants to bless each one of us, but take time and focus on what God really want's to give you and then make your request known to the Lord. Remember God is not a genie who grants unlimited wishes, but our awesome creator who wants us to live out our created purpose.

Be Well, Pastor Jackson