United in Love

I do not lie in bed at night saying, “Man, I’m so awesome, I’ve won three world championships! Oh, I’m so cool!” I do not do that.

I don’t go home at the end of the day and say to my three boys, “Hey sons! Tell me what your dad did,” just to hear them say, “Dad! You won three World Series!” I would be so disappointed to hear my kids say that. I don’t want them to say that. I don’t want them to know me as some pro athlete that won a world championship. In five years, no one is going to even know I was on the team. Okay, Giants fans might remember, because they really love their team! But most people will not know who I am.

When I stand before my God and King, and He looks at me from the throne, what is He going to say? Not, “Well done, good and faithful servant, you won three World Series, congratulations!” That is not what He will say! And it’s not what I want to hear.

I want to hear Him say, “Jeremy, thank you. Thank you for promoting the Gospel. Thank you for taking the least of these and loving them. Thank you for using your talents to love other people, and for using your success to help other people succeed. Thank you, Jeremy, for joining the movement of people devoted to loving their neighbor as themselves.”

I want to hear that because that’s how I read the Gospel. I read in Matthew 25 about the separation of the sheep and goats, and I hear Jesus say that when you feed the hungry and give the thirsty something to drink, you will go into eternal life. You will be righteous if you do these things. If you do not do these things, you will miss the boat. I can’t read it any other way.

So think about that when you go to work. Students, when you’re in school, think about that. Take that passion you have for your neighbor and bring it to your job or your classroom, and join the movement. Because it’s stirring. It’s stirring in you, and it’s stirring in the world. This is our calling as a Church.

When I talk about Church, I’m not talking about the four walls of a building. I’m not talking about a Presbyterian church, or a Baptist church, or a Catholic, or Evangelical Free, or non-denominational church. I’m not talking about any of that. We need to unify, but I don’t see a need for everyone to unite in one denomination. That wouldn’t make any sense! We need diversity. Every believer needs to be able to go to the church where they were saved.

No, no. I’m talking about something else. I’m talking about uniting in our calling. I’m talking about uniting in our mission. I’m talking about unity of purpose, about bringing the Kingdom of righteousness and justice.

If we follow the commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength by loving our neighbor as ourselves, then we will unify the church. It’s in this commandment that we experience ourselves as one church. We are the body of Christ, and we have one calling. We are called to love.

When I stand before God’s throne, I hope to hear Him thank me for joining His movement, because this movement of love will unify the church.

See you Monday.

Unify the Church

I do not lie in bed at night saying, “Man, I’m so awesome, I’ve won three world championships! Oh, I’m so cool!” I do not do that.

I don’t go home at the end of the day and say to my three boys, “Hey sons! Tell me what your dad did,” just to hear them say, “Dad! You won three World Series!” I would be so disappointed to hear my kids say that. I don’t want them to say that. I don’t want them to know me as some pro athlete that won a world championship. In five years, no one is going to even know I was on the team. Okay, Giants fans might remember, because they really love their team! But most people will not know who I am.

When I stand before my God and King, and He looks at me from the throne, what is He going to say? “Well done, good and faithful servant, you won three World Series, congratulations”? That’s not what I want to hear!

I want to hear Him say, “Jeremy, thank you. Thank you for promoting the Gospel. Thank you for taking the least of these and loving them. Thank you for using your talents to love other people, and for using your success to help other people succeed. Thank you Jeremy, for joining the movement of people devoted to loving their neighbor as themselves.”

I want to hear that because that’s how I read the Gospel. I read in Matthew 25 about the separation of the sheep and goats, and I hear Him say that when you feed the hungry and give the thirsty something to drink, you will go into eternal life. You will be righteous if you do these things. If you do not do these things, you miss the boat. I can’t read it any other way.

So think about that when you go to work. Students, when you’re in school, think about that. Take that passion you have for your neighbor and bring it to your job or your classroom, and join the movement. Because it’s stirring. It’s stirring in you, and it’s stirring in the world. This is our calling as a church.

When I talk about church, I’m not talking about the four walls of a building. I’m not talking about a Presbyterian church, or a Baptist church, or a Catholic, Evangelical Free, or non-denominational church. Not any of that. I’m talking about a unified church.

If we follow the commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength by loving our neighbor as ourselves, then we will unify the church. We are one church. We are the body of Christ, and we have one calling. We are called to love.

When I stand before His throne, I hope to hear God thank me for joining this movement, because this movement of love will unify the church.

More about this next time. See you Monday.

Bags of Dreams

Bags of GoldAgain, [the kingdom of heaven] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. Matthew 25:14-18

Have you read this parable? When the master returns, he generously rewards the two servants who doubled their bags of gold. But it wasn’t a happy ending for the one that buried his gold in the ground. To that servant the master said, “You have done evil! I’m taking your one bag of gold away! I’m going to give it to the guy with ten bags, because he multiplied his giftings.”

The very next thing Jesus talks about is the sheep and the goats. He talks about those who saw Him hungry and fed Him, or saw Him naked and gave Him clothes to wear. So to me, the parables of the bags of gold and the sheep and goats go hand in hand. We should invest the gold we have been given in order to feed Jesus and give Him clothes. The servants who invested the gold are the sheep and the one who buried his gold is the goat.

There’s a reason why we need to strive to make a quality investment with our life!

In order to do that, we have to dream really, really big. We have to dream, because there are kids out there who don’t get to dream. There are countries, whole social areas, where people don’t get to dream. No matter how much they want to dream, it will be impossible until someone – you, me, every Christian – helps them bring justice to their situation. Unless that happens, it will be impossible for them ever to accomplish their dreams.

I’ve had the ability to dream. And I’ve had the ability to accomplish my dreams. And I’m not done accomplishing my dreams. My dreams go so much further than being a professional athlete. You know what? They go so much further than being a World Series champ. My dream is to become a complete human being.

My dream is to know that when I die, people will say, “Man, that guy loved his neighbor as himself. He did what he could with what he had to bring other people’s dreams to fruition.” That’s my goal.

And I think it has to happen. I have my bags of gold, and I want to invest them and multiply them. I want to take what I’ve been given as a human being and put it to work so that I can become the greatest human being I can be. I can do that by knowing that when someone needed my help to accomplish their dreams, I was able to help them in that.

That is what a humanitarian does. That is what a human being does. That is my dream.

What is your dream?

See you Monday.

We Will Unify the Church

I do not lie in bed at night saying, “Man, I’m so awesome, I just won two world championships! Oh, I’m so cool!” I do not do that.

I don’t go home at the end of the day and say to my three boys, “Hey sons! Tell me what your dad did,” just to hear them say, “Dad! You won two World Series!” I would be so disappointed to hear my kids say that. I don’t want them to say that. I don’t want them to know me as some pro athlete that won a world championship. In five years, no one is going to even know I was on the team.

Okay, Giants fans might remember, because they really love their team! But most people will not know who I am. When I stand before my God and King, and He looks at me from the throne, what is He going to say? Continue reading

The Sheep and the Goats

In my first post on the amazing young people of Spokane, I wrote about our first Feed the Hunger event. The event was so uplifting. We experienced the power of several hundred young people working hard for four hours to package 75,000 meals to help feed the hungry. As I wrote then:

The Gospel of Jesus Christ feels good. Our community is finding fulfillment because with every meal we package, we feed Jesus Christ Himself (Matthew 25). On January 22, we packaged 75,000 meals. We fed Jesus Christ 75,000 times! Think about that!

I hope you’ve had a chance to think about that. I think about it a lot.

Here’s part of what Jesus says in Matthew 25:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25: 31-40)

You see? When you feed somebody who’s hungry, when you clothe somebody in need, when you visit somebody in prison, or help the hurting, the dying, the people that are in pain, Jesus says, “You have done that to Me, because they are a part of Me. Whether they are living for Me or not, they’re still a part of Me. I created them.”

God created man and woman in His own image. When He did that it was as if He said, “I’ve created you with Me in you.”

You have a spirit of God inside of you. When you were in your mother’s womb, God said, “I created you in my own image. You are part of me. And though you may sin, and though you may fail, you will be fulfilled in me.”

Now think about that. If something you created or something that’s a part of you is under attack, you feel like you’re being attacked. I mean, if you attacked my son, I would feel like you’re attacking a part of me. If you attacked my wife, you’d be attacking a part of me. And if you go up to my son and give him a hug and show him love and care, I feel like that’s how you feel about me.

We’re creations of the Almighty God and I think He feels the same way. We are sons and daughters of Zion, we are part of His family, and so when He sees someone that is hungry, He’s hungry.

That’s what He means when He says, “If you do this for the least of these, then you’ve done this for Me.” You can donate one meal or more, depending on your means, or you can come together as a community and donate 75,000 meals. And either way, you will do something amazingly fulfilling. You’ll feed Jesus Christ Himself. I’m telling you: The Gospel of Jesus Christ feels good!

Next time I’m going to share with you the Greatest Thing Ever. See you Friday.