When God Removes His Mask

December 25, 2013

Unknown-1For centuries before he was born, mankind wondered what God looked like.  On this night, God took off His mask and showed us what He looked like in the form of the Christ child.

Jesus was in heaven.  He didn’t have to come from heaven to us but he loved us enough to do that.
If I were Jesus, I wouldn’t want to leave heaven.  I would be content there with angels singing and worshipping me.  Guess it’s a good thing I’m not Jesus.  (Sometimes I don’t want to be inconvenienced to help someone, until I think of how Jesus was inconvenienced for me.)
If I were God, I wouldn’t want to send my Son down here to earth to be treated the way that He was treated.  He left heaven and couldn’t even get a hotel room to be born into.  He had to come into this dark world in a BARN!
That’s not the way a King should be treated.  He left heaven and came to a dark world that didn’t appreciate His sacrifice at all.  He left heaven, knowing it would lead to the most horrible death ever…. crucifixion, but He came anyway.
What brought the baby from heaven?  He came because He loves you.
Why did God send his son?  I wouldn’t send any of my three sons to die for any of you.  (Though on some days I might be wiling to spare one for you to make a slave or something, depending upon what they’ve done that day- but that’s another blog post.)
The truth is, God sent His only Son to die a horrible death because He knew it was the only way to restore a relationship with you.  He loves you.
The baby Jesus is the perfect picture of what God looks like.  Giving to us EVERYTHING when it makes no sense.  Sparing His own Son for His enemies (us).
A few years ago I went to Mammoth Cave.  The guide led us into a HUGE room, told us to stand still, and he cut off the lights.  The place went so dark that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.  I’ve never seen it that dark before.  After a few minutes, he lit a match.  It seemed like it lit the whole place, it was so bright.  That one small match cut through the darkest dark imaginable.
Jesus came into a world as a baby.  The world was so dark, so separated from God by sin, that we had no hope.  Yet, the small flame in the form of the Christ Child gives us hope and life in a world that is hopelessly dark without the Light!
In John 8:12, Jesus said this:
“I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
We crucified the Son, and we put the light in a tomb, but the light didn’t stay in the grave.
If it had, we wouldn’t be celebrating Christmas.
  • Death couldn’t hold the light that came on Christmas.
  • Satan couldn’t put out the light that came on Christmas.
  • Demons thought they had put an end to the baby’s mission but they were wrong.
  • The light had come into the world.
The baby Jesus, the light, came on Christmas and was born into a manger.  He grew up, showed us that He was the light by His love, was crucifed, and the grave couldn’t hold the light.
Jesus was the first Christmas gift and the best gift we could ever get.  God removed the mask of his nature, love, personality, and compassion when Light came into the darkness in the form of a baby.  Merry Christmas!  The LIGHT has come!
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Emmanuel, In Chloe’s Words

December 10, 2012

If you read my last blog post, you know that my son’s girlfriend Chloe and her sister, Greta, were in bad auto accident yesterday after church.

We were at the hospital until late last night and this morning I used my “Pastor Card” to get in to see her.  As I talked with Chloe this morning in ICU, I told her that all through the ordeal I was reminded of Craig Groeschel’s message yesterday.  It was about God’s “omnipresence”, or as a child would say, “God is with ME.”  Chloe said that she was also reminded of the message and took comfort from it through the whole ordeal.  (She is still in the ordeal as she had surgery last night and has at least two more this week.)

I thought about “Emmanuel” as I was praying in the car with Marla and Matthew at the accident scene.  Greta had talked to Matthew.  We didn’t know if Chloe was ok or not.  All we could see was emergency vehicles and lights.  The car was behind them.

We prayed desperately and thanked God that we knew that even though we couldn’t see what was going on behind all of the emergency lights and vehicles, we knew that God was with Chloe and Greta.  I also knew that God was with Carl and Jaynie, the girls’ parents.  We asked for God’s comfort on them.  I felt his presence with me.

Chloe’s jaw has multiple fractures but what she said to me this morning, mainly moving her lips, rocked me to the core.   This is what Chloe said:

“When I was still in the car, I was scared.  I had been singing ‘Jesus Loves Me” because that’s all that I knew to do.  Greta was talking to me to keep me calm.

I then heard the paramedics outside of the car talking.  They said to each other that they didn’t know if I was going to make it.  Then I saw Him.  I SAW JESUS.  He was shaking His head ‘YES’ and said ‘You ARE going to make it.’  I knew He was with me.”

I was speechless.  Wow….  “God is WITH US.”  He was there with the girls.  He was with Carl and Jaynie.

He was TALKING to Chloe, giving her hope as she sat in a totally demolished car with so many injuries that the EMT’s thought she wasn’t going to make it.

I asked Chloe for permission to share her story and she said it was ok.

I will never hear the words “Emmanuel-God with us”, in the same way again.

(Note:  This post was inspired by Frances Chan’s message to the 2012 Chic Student Conference in Knoxville, TN)

“Do you love me?”

Those are the words that Jesus asked Peter THREE TIMES when He appeared to him after his death.  Peter had just denied that he even knew Jesus.

Peter was feeling like a total failure at the time.  He knew that he had let Jesus down, and now Jesus was looking him in the eye, asking him that very question.

How did Peter answer?

How would YOU answer if Jesus came to YOU, looked you in the eye, and asked you if you love Him?”

Maybe you would answer, “You know better than anyone, Lord.”  Who would really know better than Jesus if you really love Him?

Maybe you aren’t even sure yourself how to answer that.  If it were anyone else asking if you love Jesus, you would say, “of course” without reservation, but Jesus knows your real heart.  He knows your shortcomings and weaknesses.  When it’s Him asking, you may not even be sure how to answer.

Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.”

Sometimes we like to pick and choose which commands we will obey but Jesus doesn’t seem to leave that as an option.  He said, “If you love me, keep my commands.”

We may have a good reputation.  People may know us as a Christian.  There may be no one in the community that would question our devotion to God.  What really matters is if Christ knows us.  Reputations are worthless if He doesn’t know you.

In Revelation 3, Jesus spoke to the church in Sardis.  “You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead!”

It doesn’t matter what your reputation is or how well you are “known” for following Christ.  What matters is do you love Him?

How do you know?  Keep his commands.  (John 14:15)

John 14:15 isn’t a call to perfection.  No one will ever meet perfection outside of Jesus.  I think it should give us pause, however, when we think of our “pet” sins.  Maybe it’s a sin or two that NO ONE knows about except for you.  If others knew, it would ruin your “reputation.”

The question here is “Do you love Jesus?”  Do you love Him more than you love your secret sin?  Do you love Him enough to deal with it?

Have you given your “EVERYTHING” to Him.

Would you die for Him?

Do you love Him enough to deal with THAT SPECIAL sin?

Are you satisfied if everyone just thinks that you’re sold out?

Do you love Him?

God Will Blow Your Mind

January 2, 2012

God has blown my mind at times as I think back on my journey with Him.  There have been times when He has come through in unexpected ways.  On some occasions, I’ve asked Him to do something and He answered my prayer in a way that wasn’t what I asked but better than what I had in mind.

I remember once when I was in college, I was driving my car and God’s Spirit just filled the car.  I can’t describe how awesome it was and I don’t know why it happened.  In the process, He answered a prayer that I had prayed and it was one of those unexpected ways.  That experience was unexpected and not something that I can just “reproduce.”

God chooses when and where He will show up.  He’s GOD and He gets to choose that.  Not us.

There have been a few times when I’ve prayed and God didn’t show up, or so it seems.  The time that always sticks in my mind was when I was in student ministry.  One of my volunteer’s 16 month old son, Brandon, got very sick.  Brandon’s dad and I spent 3 nights in the hospital, asking God to heal Brandon.  Brandon died.  I didn’t understand it then and I still don’t understand why God didn’t heal Brandon.  How could that not be His will?

In dark times like when Brandon passed away, even though I didn’t know what in the world God was thinking, I’ve felt His presence.  In some ways, in those dark times I have felt God’s presence the strongest in my journey.  I don’t understand it but I’ve learned to trust Him when I don’t “get it.”

I share all of this to say this:  God wants our total commitment no matter what.  God wants us to go ALL IN.  If we really want to experience God in our lives, we can’t just try God out on a trial basis.  We can’t “try God” and if it doesn’t work, have “Oprah”  or something else as a Plan B.  Experiences with God come through total abandon to Him.

I read this week about the Knights of Templar.  An important part of Knighthood was to be a Christian.  When the Knight was baptized, however, he was baptized with his sword sticking out of the water.  It signified that his whole life belonged to God except for what happened on the battlefield.  It was like telling God, “You can have all of me except don’t try to stick your nose in on what I do to my enemies, God.  You’re not welcome in that part of my life.”

Again, if we want to experience God in unexpected ways and have Him blow our minds, He expects total commitment, no matter what.  When we are totally committed to Him is when He shows up most often.  That’s when we experience His presence and see His fingerprints in the most powerful ways.

In John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine.  You are the branches.  If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.  Apart from me you can do  NOTHING.”

If you are following Jesus, I encourage you to do whatever it means in your life to be ALL IN.  Do something about that secret sin that no one knows about.  Forgive your neighbor that hurt you.  Stop being selfish and begin helping the poor.  Whatever He is telling you, do it now!  If we want to experience God in a BIG way, maybe we need to make some BIG changes in our lives.  Stop putting it off.

Connect with Him in a 100% way and you’ll begin to experience Him in ways that will blow your mind!

Has God ever blown your mind?  How?

Christmas: God is With Us!

December 24, 2011

Isaiah 7:14  says, “Therefore, the Lord will give you a sign:  The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and you shall call Him Immanuel.

 

Immanuel means “God with us.” 

 

God came down from heaven to be WITH US.  He made it possible for us to be with Him.

I met Immanuel as a 12 year old boy.  I can tell you for a fact that He has been WITH ME.

God was WITH ME…..

  • He was reaching out to me and drawing me to Him as a 12 year old.
  • As I jumped on the church bus and began to learn about the Bible and get to know Him, He drew me near.
  • He was WITH ME as I lead the devotions for my high school football team before games in my senior year.
  • He was WITH ME as I met Marla in college and we were married.
  • He was WITH ME as each of my kids were born.
  • During times of loss, like my dad and my grandparents, He was WITH ME.
  • He is WITH ME now as I lead my family and church.

I am thankful tonight for the little baby that was born, willing to be WITH ME.  He emptied Himself of the benefits and luxury of being in heaven and came to Earth as a baby.  He grew up and died a terrible death, paying the price for my sin.  He knew what was required, but like a real man-the baby came.

AND HE IS WITH ME!

I hope you have a Merry Christmas.  Remember that God sent Jesus and that’s why we celebrate Christmas.

Immanuel.  God is with us!

 

Life is a Highway

December 3, 2011

My first year as a Student Pastor was filled with lots of adventures.  I know Rascal Flatts sings about “Life is a Highway” and I believe that’s true on several accounts.  On one memorable youth adventure, I was driving the lead van of 5 vans, heading from Charlotte, North Carolina to Asheville, North Carolina, where we were going to a camp called Centrifuge at Ridgecrest.  I had never driven that route before, being a Tennessee boy, but I could handle it.  I was a big boy and there were four other drivers from the Carolinas right behind me.

We were driving along having a great time on the trip.  DC Talk  and Audio Adrenaline were blaring on the radio.  Kids were singing along.  We had the Christian fish plastered on the side of the van.  We were a Jesus party, rolling down the highway, having a blast!

After we had been driving for about two hours, a sign suddenly caught my attention. The sign only had 3 words written on it but it made me suddenly sick to my stomach in the middle of this Jesus fest that we were experiencing.

The sign read, “WELCOME TO VIRGINIA!”

Now I’ve know some really nice people from Virginia and I’ve had a few good visits in my past to Virginia too.  Heck, even George Washington was from Virginia.  The problem with the sign in this situation is that I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere close to Virginia and neither were the four vans that had been following me for the past two hours.

I had missed a sign that instructed those interested in going to Ashville to veer left about an hour and a half earlier.   We weren’t on the right road and were having too much fun to even realize our error.  Even those from North Carolina that were with me didn’t even realize our demise.

I wonder how often we do that today.  We travel along with our lives on cruise control, listening to Christian radio, going to church every week with our families, and even reading our chapter a week in the Bible when we have time.  We usually drop our money in the offering plate too.  We do all the things that Christians are supposed to do in America these days, yet maybe we’re not even on the road that He wants us to be onIt sure seems like a Christian road, to be sure, be just not the right one for us.

We would never do it intentionally, but wouldn’t it be terrible to suddenly realize that we’re not on the right road?   Maybe we just slowly began assuming that we knew His will for our life everyday and began drifting slowly away, bit by bit.  We start thinking that we’ve walked with Him long enough now.  No need to ask Him everyday anymore for His will, right?  It’s pretty much the same thing today as there was yesterday, right?  Go to work.  Go to church.  Pray everyday.  Ditto the next day.

Maybe you’ve worked really hard for the last ten years to buy your dream house.  God would never actually ask you to sell it and spend that extra working time volunteering at the church, would he?  Maybe you enjoy golf.  It’s how you relax.  Jesus would NEVER ask me to actually scale back MY LIFE so that I could invest in the life of a young boy that lost his dad last year, WOULD HE?  Why…. That would actually cause me to have to RE-ADJUST MY LIFE for the Gospel.  God wouldn’t ask anything like that of me, would He???

I’m not really sure that Jesus meant for us to just sit around on the porch of our big home on EASY STREET and ignore the needs around us.  If we really stopped to ask Him, we might find that we missed the road about ten years back.  We would also find a Savior that is willing to say, “Let me help you find your way back to the narrow road.  It’s filled with challenges but there’s nothing more fulfilling than traveling that road.”

Back to the Student Ministry Trip:  I eventually found my way back to Ashville and the kidding has never stopped from those that were on that trip.  I’m sure there will be a few smiles from the former kids and chaperones that were on that trip when they read this post.

The Bible says that many will say, “Lord, didn’t we cast demons out in your name?”   Jesus will then go on and say, “Away from me.  I never knew you.”  Notice he didn’t say “a FEW will say ‘Lord, didn’t we know you?’.”  He said “MANY.”  There will be MANY who thought they knew Jesus but they just knew a little about the Christian lifestyle.  They didn’t know the Savior.

When I was growing up, I used to go to the races every week at Nashville Raceway.  I would get Darrell Waltrip’s autograph every single week.  I followed his whole career.  I was there when he won his first Winston Cup race against the big boys.  Every stat that concerned Darrell, I could tell you.  I had even begun to believe that I knew him until one day I met him as an adult.  As we talked, it dawned on me that he didn’t know that I existed.  He didn’t remember that little kid that came to see him every week years ago back in Nashville.  I knew all about him.  I had him covering my wall in my room, but he didn’t know me.  I was just one of the MANY that thought they knew him.

I pray that you aren’t one of the “MANY” that THOUGHT they were on the “Jesus Train.”   Have you really assessed in your life that you are on the road that He has put you on.  Have you just learned all of the facts and stats about the King of Kings but you really haven’t taken time for Him to hear your “Masters” will for a long time?  Do you actually take time to listen to Him daily and actually ADJUST YOUR LIFE to His will?

Do you REALLY KNOW HIM or have you been trained to act like you do?   I’m not saying we have to have all of the answers.  You can tell by my previous couple of posts that I have LOTS of questions that I don’t understand.  It’s about being real and really seeking Him, adjusting to His will, and trusting Him.

Life is a Highway.  Are you on the right one?   It’s something to think about….

In my years in ministry I have seen a lot of things.  I have seen God do absolute miracles.  I have seen people that were supposed to be dead according to doctors, totally healed.  I’ve seen the most vile people that I thought were hopeless be transformed into new creations that were the opposite of their past.  I’ve had God reveal Himself to me in ways that blow my mind.  PRETTY COOL STUFF!

On the flip side, I’ve also seen some things that my Masters Degree and my “Doctor of Ministry” just didn’t explain.

There have been times when I’ve questioned God.  I’ve never questioned his existence.  I have just wondered what in the world He was doing or not doing in certain situations. As I mentioned in my last post, I have even felt wrongly that I have to look out for His reputation at times when it seems that He didn’t come through.

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

  • Early in my ministry, I spent 3 nights sleeping at the foot of a hospital bed of a 2 year old little boy named Brandon.  His parents and I poured our hearts out constantly for his healing for those 3 days.  Our entire church was praying.  Brandon died.  God, where were you then?
  • I mentioned the miscarriages that Marla & I have experienced in my last post.  That was a hard time to work through.   Just didn’t seem “fair.”
  • I have a friend, Kyle Caddell, who has served God faithfully his whole life.  We played in the band, “U-Turn,” together, sharing Jesus in college.  Kyle later became a builder and was very generous with his money in helping people.  For the past 15 years Kyle has endured a tremendous amount of pain in his muscles and joints and the doctors don’t seem to know why or how to help.  He has now lost his home and can’t even work consistently because of the pain.  God, why is that?

Sometimes things happen that just don’t make sense to my little mind.  I could go into theological reasons as to why there is still evil in the world and possible reasons why God doesn’t always intercede, but that’s not really the intent of this post.   I can give a try at that later if some of you want me to do that.

I just wanted to say that if you know someone that is going through a time when things just don’t make sense, you don’t always have to have the answers.  What your friend needs most, even though they do want answers, is YOU.

Never is this more clear in Scripture thanthe book of Job.  In short, Job was hurting.  Though he had served God faithfully, God allowed Satan to strike him with boils all over his body. He didn’t even look like himself anymore.  He was actually scraping the boils off with broken pottery pieces.  (Job 2)

Job had 3 friends who loved him come by and they barely recognized him.  For 7 whole days, the four friends sat, cried, and were just there with job.  I believe they really ministered to his soul by their presence.  Then it all began to fall apart.  They opened their mouths.  They said some of the most ridiculous things trying to explain why things were happening to Job.  When their mouths opened, their cluelessness was discovered.

Our friends don’t always need us to have all of the answers.  What they need is our presence.  They need to know that someone representing God cares about them.   Sometimes they need to see God with skin on- that would be His representative or His Ambassador.  That means YOU!

I remember one occasion when a friend was going through a divorce.  Myself and another believer went to minister to the hurting friend.  I felt bad.  I didn’t know what to say.  I didn’t say much but just listened as my friend talked about his pain.  I was so thankful that my other friend with the answers was there.  He seemed to have a lot of words and input into the situation.

The next day, the hurting friend called to tell me that he was thankful that I WAS THERE.  Bewildered, I thought, “I didn’t have any answers.”

My friend told me, “I appreciated the way that you just sat with me, listened, and didn’t say a word.”  (He said that the other guy talked way too much.)

When we don’t have the answers for people, we always have ourselves.  Just be there when they need you.  When everyone else is running away, BE THERE.

When there just aren’t any answers, BE THERE.  Sometimes your presence says everything that needs to be said.

Have there been things in your life that you just had to trust God as you walked through it, even though you didn’t understand?

Who really helped your soul through it?

I was asked to review the book, “Radical,” by David Platt on my blog.  I had heard that it was a very challenging and thought provoking book and that proved true.  The very subtitle of the book, “Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream,” suggests that the American Dream has taken my faith.  As I read the book, I realized that in some ways, I had come to desire the American Dream more than I had desired to really follow Jesus.

Platt says, “We are giving in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable with”

For many Americans, Christianity is great as long as we can conform it into our own image of what it should be and make it fit into our lives.  The call of Christ, however, is a call to reshape our lives into what He calls us to be and live.  Some may call living the way the Bible tells us to live “radical”.  By today’s standards, living for Christ may be quite radical from what we see in most who claim to know Christ here in America.

Without admitting it, when we approach Jesus we often come with an attitude like, “Tell me what you have to say and then I’ll decide whether or not I like it.”  If we approach Jesus in that way, we will never hear him.  We need to approach Jesus saying “yes Lord” before we even know what it is that He wants from us.  Does that mean selling all we have and giving the money to the poor or going to Africa to serve in an orphanage?  It means saying “yes” no matter what he is telling us to do, even before He tells.

Sometimes we forget that He is Lord as we read Him our list of requests and go merrily on our way.  Truth is, He is the Master. We’re not.  Yes, he wants us to come to Him when we hurt, when we are in need, and when we need healing, but He wants us to come to him as Lord with thankful hearts,  He wants us to be willing to listen to Him and obey.  He wants us in the Bible so that He can speak to us and lead us.  We aren’t leading Him.  We’re supposed to let Him lead us.  It’s easy to forget.

Platt is pretty hard on the American Dream.  He reminds us that Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.”  When we neglect the poor it shows where our hearts really are.  We are put here for a purpose and it is only for a small amount of time in light of eternity.  Let’s not live like this is the final destination.  It’s just a short “blip” on the map.  Let’s rearrange our lives or whatever He leads us to do to live a “radical” life for Him and not for ourselves.

Question:  What are your thoughts?

Is Your Life Stagnant?

June 23, 2011

I love being in the mountains and seeing a brook or stream flowing from the top of the mountain and sitting there reading my Bible or just thinking.  There is a sense of God’s presence there to me as I watch the water flow over the rocks and down the stream.

Normal people, however,  don’t see a pool of stagnant water and feel refreshed.  In fact, I think about the opposite when my nose catches a good whif.  It makes me want to see my lunch again.  The smell is enough to make a weak stomach gag.

Webster defines “stagnant” as “not flowing in a current or stream.”  Stagnant water stinks.   When it stops flowing, the life seems to go out of it.

God hasn’t designed us to be stagnant either.  The Bible says that the lukewarm life makes God gag too. God’s mercies are “new every morning.”  (Lam. 3:19-23)  He isn’t a God that you can be in a close relationship with and feel stagnant.  He is always at work around us.  If we aren’t involved in His work and seeing it on a daily basis, it’s our own fault.  When we seek Him we’ll find Him.  When we’re too busy, we don’t take the time to look.

That’s why we always talk about taking your next step at MJLifeChurch.  We believe that no matter where you are in your walk with Christ, there is always a “Next Step” to take because God is always at work and He is inviting us to be involved with Him.

As amazing as it is to me that God is inviting us to be involved with Him in His work, perhaps even more amazing to me is that we often ignore that invitation because we get ourselves too busy.  If you’re too busy to help your neighbor, take food to a sick person, or invest some time in your church, then you’re too busy.  Even though you always seem to be moving and going, you have become stagnant in your spiritual life. …the only part of your life that really matters because EVERYTHING is tied to the spiritual.

How do you break out of the stagnant life?  Decide to make your spiritual walk the most important part of your life.  Sometimes we have to give up some things that we love for some things that we love even more.  God should have the first spot in your life.  Everything else should fit around your relationship with Him.  (Quiet time with Him, Investing in leading areas at church, helping people, etc.)

The challenge is that most people fill up their lives with work, soccer, hobbies, and everything else that they can fit in it and then try to fill the cracks with God to help them feel better about themselves.  They blow off church if they happen to be too “tired” from all of the other stuff that they have crammed into their lives.

Take an honest look at your life right now.  Are there changes that you need to make for the sake of your relationship with God?  Then do it now!  There’s too much at stake to spend the rest of your life in a stagnant state of living.

Serving Dinner to Jesus

January 4, 2011

I served dinner to Jesus tonight. Several peeps from MJLifeChurch.tv went with me tonight and served at the Nashville Rescue Mission. We serve there once a month. It’s always humbling to serve drinks and food to men who have no home and nothing to eat. It was an especially special experience handing out food, as about half of our group are on the Daniel Fast and were actually hungry themselves. I was proud of them. They were literally denying themselves and serving others.

Men's Mission 2

I have to go ahead and admit it. That chicken was looking pretty good in my eyes too. I was lusting for chicken for sure, but when you’re weak and you have Christian brothers and sisters with you supporting you, you can stay strong. I abstained and ate some fruit when I got home.

Matthew 25:35-40 says:
“ForI 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, 36 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.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “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.’

Looking into the eyes of each man as he walked by me, looking for food, helps me remember how blessed I am. Many of the men that we fed haven’t shaven or taken a shower in a while. Some stared straight down, while others looked me in the eye and were very thankful. Some obviously had mental problems. Others have an addiction that has separated them from their home, parents, wives, and children. Looking into the eyes of each man was like looking into the eyes of Christ, the one who gave his all to me. He said that when we do it for one of the “least of these brothers and sisters, you did it for me.”

Christ’s words should compel us to treat each other in the same way that we would treat Christ if He were standing in front of us. That even means that neighbor that is a pain in the butt. It means the driver that cut us off at the intersection. And it means the guys at the Nashville Rescue Mission.

Why do we often forget to take the time to see and serve others the way Jesus wants us to see and serve them?