Why is it we feel we must portray a model of perfection as Christians?

For as long as I can remember, the stereotypical Christian was one who cleaned up well and always answered the “How are you Doing?” question with positive enthusiasm.

Do we present a church which has arrived and is all together, or one filled with people on the journey of figuring it out?

Donald Miller, in his refreshingly candid book Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy says,

“Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either.”

A photo by Keith Wickramasekara. unsplash.com/photos/C-6TaN2fxK8

Sometimes it is these imperfections which bring beauty.

Miller would imply Christianity, at is core,  is an admission of weakness. We seem to grasp this as a way to enter the door of faith.

Loving the Stranger

July 5, 2016

While rounding a corner on a run in the United States the other day, I came across a Muslim women clad in a headdress and robes. I could see her cower off the sidewalk a bit as this white, American man came plodding her way in middle America. You could sense her apprehension and read her thoughts of “here we go again.”

I greeted her warmly, commenting on the beautiful day. You could visibly see her relax and the tension leave her body.

I’ve been in her position before. I too have been the foreigner in a land and culture which is not my own. I can relate to wishing I could change my nationality or accent in order to blend in. I wouldn’t wear my USA soccer jersey because of the perception of my nation in South Africa.

I have a good friend who is from the local community in South Africa near my home. He organizes a number of after school programs to create hope in the young people.

He regularly tells me stores of how he receives cookie donations from older (insert the race which is economically better off) for his young, poor (insert economically worse off race) kids.

“These folks feel so good about helping these poor kids!”

This friend is an honest voice in my life to point out the sometimes misguided attempts to help people. I’m so grateful for this refreshingly honest voice.

He can tell when people really love those they are serving or if they are merely looking for photo ops or feel good moments.

Recently I have been able to step back into the classroom of our local Bible School. For the last few years, I had been serving at the regional and international level. Returning to the local level and interacting with the same group of students as they journey through Scripture has been so refreshing.

I speak to many of my co-workers who express how little they interact with the “everyday common” person. The higher they climb on the leadership ladder, the less they do of what they truly love.

Much of our time ends up in meeting and committee, deciding policy and executing projects. If we are not careful, we lose touch with the life and vitality of ministry at the grassroots.

This tendency to drift is common to so many areas of our lives.

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“King Solomon was wiser when he was young than when he was old.”   Dr. Ron Smith

Considering Solomon to be a major contributor to the book of Proverbs is a sobering thought.

Solomon is famous for asking for wisdom when God granted him any wish. He received great wisdom, loved the Lord (1 Kings 3:3), and even had God appear to him twice! (1 Kings 3;5, 9:2)

But right before his love for God was recorded, we see him entering into a marriage alliance with the Pharaoh of Egypt. This was the beginning of the end for Solomon, culminating in 700 wives and 300 concubines.

How could a man with so much experience with God and wisdom, end up this way?

I’ve recently had the privilege of teaching the book of Proverbs. Here are a few things we can learn from the fact Solomon had wisdom but failed to finish well.