Aloha Friday Message – July 7, 2017 – Where’s that Jesus Freak?

1727AFC070717 – That Jesus Freak – AGAIN

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Matthew 11:28-30 28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

¡Que la bendición esté siempre con ustedes y que Dios los bendiga, Amados! (May blessing always be with you and may God bless you, Belovéd!) Jump aboard today for one of those cascade-memory trips that started with a simple phrase. Last Sunday Fr. Anthony said, “Don’t be afraid to be called ‘The Church Lady.’ Or ‘The Bible Guy'” Well, of course many of us older folks immediately thought of Dana Carvey’s character, Enid Strict, on Saturday Night Live. Perhaps some of you will remember her sarcastic, sanctimonious satire of “holier-than-thou” Christians and the catchphrases, “Well, isn’t that SPE-CIAL?!”, “How con-VEEN-ient!”, and “Could it be…SATAN?” Enid was tough on “Sunday-goin’-to-meeting-Christians.”

Of course Enid Strict was mocking the people Carvey grew up with in his home church. Fr. Anthony was telling us we shouldn’t be afraid of the way people label us because of our faith. “The Bible Guy” is an Assembly of God preacher living in Iola, Kansas. His books and blog present detailed, well-reasoned messages on Biblical truths. In today’s world, Enid is touted for making fun of Christians, and The Bible Guy (and there are several who claim that title on the Internet) Tom Spencer advertises as “a trusted voice in a fragile world.” The PC world considers Tom and people like him (me for instance) to be crackpots. Bottom line, we need not be afraid of that label “Christian.” The World considers us to be foolish for that and readily rallies to mock us. That mockery is a stumbling block to many because it just seems like too much to endure. “Why should I wreck my life and my friendships just to follow Jesus? I don’t see any point in that at all.”

Here’s the point, expressed plainly for us by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:21-25 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. The fool is not the one who follows Jesus; the fool is the one who does not follow Jesus. “But it’s so HARD!” Jesus himself told us many, many times that we would be persecuted because of him. (See John 15:20, Mark 10:29-30, and 2 Timothy 3:12)  In all honesty I have to tell you, it is far less traumatic to be subject to Jesus than to be subject to The World. In The World the only hope available is inside you, and Belovéd, there is precious little of that. But in Jesus there is an eternal infinity of hope, and that is a huge difference when it comes to dealing with the burdens of life. Here’s a memory verse from days gone by:

Psalm 55:22 22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. In this passage the word burden is יְהָבְךָ֮ (yə-hā-ḇə-ḵā) from יְהָב (yehab) { ye-hawb’} and it means basically “what is allotted to you.” Your “burden” is the stuff that happens – the consequences of your decisions – and God loves you so much, he has personally promised to help you carry it. Yes, God, your Creator, carries for you the weight of your choices (especially the poorer choices). This is why Jesus says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” This comes as part of a discourse about the difficult rules laid upon the Jews by “The Church and Bible Guys,” the hyper-religious despots whose self-righteous judgments made life miserable. They constantly pointed out the failures of others to live up to the Law while conveniently forgetting their own failures. Jesus nailed them on that over and over. The “yoke” the high-and-mighty placed on the populace was arduous to bear, but Jesus’ yoke – his requirements for being righteous – were genuinely easy. Instead of the Rule of Law, Jesus preached the Law of Love. We are preprogrammed to help the ones we love. And why is that? Because that is how God created us – in his own image of Love. That’s how and why we know he is just so eager to help us. Check this out:

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.

Psalm 68:19 19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah

How can it be foolish to love and depend on The Creator, the one who made me, made you, made us? Depending on God cannot be foolish, but whoever cannot accept the Cross cannot obtain the Crown. Think about this message found in 1 Corinthians 1:18-20 18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? And where is it written that God will confound the Worldly? Paul is quoting Isaiah 29:13-14 The Lord said: “Because these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote; 14 so I will again do amazing things with this people, shocking and amazing. The wisdom of their wise shall perish, and the discernment of the discerning shall be hidden.”

God’s wisdom is wiser than any in the world, and God’s burden is lighter than any other because HE’S THERE TO HELP YOU CARRY IT. I’ve already said we are willing to help those whom we love, but you also know we are often willing to help those we don’t even know because we act out of Love. The people around you notice that. Some of them mock you for it (you don’t need their approval). Love them anyway. Some of them praise you for it (you don’t need their praise). Love them anyway. In many places in the world, people will kill you for it (they perceive you as utterly irredeemable). Love them anyway. The burdens of Love are far easier to bear than the burdens of worldliness because the burdens of Love come from Jesus, and he shows us and tells how to find his help. What does he say?

He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Christ’s yoke is easy because it is the way we are joined to him through Grace. Everything he does for us, he does so that we can be closer to him and better prepared for The New Jerusalem. That’s my destination, and I am eager to get there, especially if you will come with me! I’d like nothing better. It’s a fascinating journey this old fool’s been on for over 70 years. And part of that time, I was referred to as “The Jesus Freak.” Some thought it was mockery, other meant it as praise, but everyone knew it was the essence of my life. That was back in the late 60’s, and my life then was … bizarre, but not out of the ordinary. Long hair, funky clothes, strange lyrics, and stranger consumptions were part of that lifestyle. Nonetheless, I was a Jesus Freak. Perhaps some of the folks who knew me back then have tried to guess in the ensuing years, “Whatever happened to that Jesus Freak, you know, what’s-his-name, the Bible Guy?” He’s still here, Brothers and sisters, and he’s still just happy as can be because – in most cases – I have good reason to stay like that. Take this quote, for example from, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 14 For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. 15 And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. Why worry about any other judgment that Jesus’ judgment? Basically it comes down to this:

Throw away the burdens of anxiety and fear1 Peter 5:7Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. And Move forward in the shelter of his protection 1 Corinthians 15:58 58 Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

It seems to me that, quite simply, I just have to trust Jesus to take care of the stuff I have to deal with, but I can’t expect him to take care of the stuff I don’t hand over. That stuff I need to dump off – it’s all my fault, that’s for sure. It doesn’t seem fair that anyone else should have to deal with it, but Jesus says he’ll be able to handle whatever I throw His way; he will share my burden and make it light. Sometimes I think we act as if we believe we cannot, or should not, be forgiven. We think perhaps God is going to say…

 Now, that’s crazy, I know, but sinners do crazy things. We’ll hold onto the very worst things in and about our lives as if God didn’t know they were there. (AS IF!) And even if we ask God to help us with laying that burden down, when we ask for the graces we need to be righteous, we sometimes don’t trust the answer he gives us. He says to trust him, to learn from him, to be like him – gentle and humble in heart – and cast our burden on the Lord. Don’t let people put you down about your “burden of faith.” Put your burden down and share that faith. If anyone wants to know why, tell them some Jesus Freak said it was a good idea.

For more information on a YOKE see “The Yoke’s on You” and “Wearied on Aloha Friday.”

Share-a-Prayer:

AD, BREAST CANCER (GETTING BETTER)
AL, PETTY CRIMES ~ BIG TROUBLE
BC, ABDOMINAL ILLNESS
MC, NEED PRAYERS TO FIND Jesus
DP, HUSBAND WITH ALZHEIMER’S
EC, REPEATED FALLS WITH CHRONIC LEG PROBLEMS
FO, MULTIPLE STROKES
ICD, BREAST CANCER AND CHEMO
KT, RECOVERY FROM BROKEN BACK
KL, BLESSINGS FOR SERVICE TO OTHERS
KW, REPEATED INJURIES TO SPINE AND HIPS
RB, CHRONIC ILLNESSES; PENDING SURGERY
RB, (NOT RELATED) RECOVERY FROM CHRONIC DOMESTIC ABUSE
TO, PREPARATIONS FOR A HUGE LIFESTYLE CHANGE
ALL CANCER PATIENTS AND ALL CANCER SURVIVORS
AND THEIR FAMILIES

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Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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