After Jesus was baptized by His cousin, John the Baptist, in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit led Him out into the wilderness/desert for a period of forty days. While He was there, He didn't eat or drink anything- NOTHING at all for almost 6 weeks! And during this time, both Luke and Matthew tell us that the devil came to Jesus and tempted Him with several things- power, luxury, and food.
After 40 days, any of us would be starving, and probably willing to do just about anything to fill our bellies with something. Satan comes to Jesus and tells Him to prove He is the Son of God by turning some stones on the ground around Him into bread to eat.
What is a jerk? Webster's dictionary defines a jerk as a stupid person, or a person who is not well-liked or who treats people badly. Google has a more succinct description: a contemptibly obnoxious person. Or, as I said on Sunday, a jerk is often just "a big meanie-head!"
We all know someone who would be described by those definitions; someone who is just a jerk, and we really don't like being around them, whether they are at our jobs, in our families, or part of our church.
But this week, we're not looking at how to get THEM to stop being jerks. We're looking at how WE- Me and You- can go about not being a Jerk!
I remember very well the first words my daughter learned how to say, "No!" followed very soon by "mama!" (I would have preferred a different order on those, but...) She picked up on the whole talking thing very quickly, just like most of us do.
Talking comes naturally to us humans. But talking well, in ways that are holy, that build people up? That takes more work.
So we need to learn how to do it, and how to do it well. It takes practice. It takes grace. And it takes a willingness to look at ourselves humbly and honestly, because what we say, how we say it, and why we say it matters!
I was driving in the car this morning listening to yet another discussion about the death of the beloved lion Cecil in Zimbabwe this month. The amount of hatred being spewed against the man who killed this majestic animal, for sport, was immense. I get it. It was very terrible what this man has done. I'm not sure how I feel about hunting for sport as it is, let alone all the lengths it appears he went to to bag this mighty beast.
But as I was driving down the highway listening to the radio hosts talk about how we should all be appalled and up-in-arms about this atrocity, my mind was quickly filled with other images.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” This passage has a lot to teach us, as individuals, and as a church body.
It’s pretty easy to get weighed down by the struggles we go through, and those things that just don’t seem to go our way. When life gets tough, we get anxious, and even start fearing the worst. It’s natural. We worry that, because things look like they’re going badly, we’ve messed up, or that something is broken, or there’s nothing we can do to fix it, and we get tempted to give up. This happens in our lives, and it happens in the church.
Know Your Story: Church Traditions
Cori Cypret is the pastor of The United Methodist Church of Coopersville.