Monday, July 14, 2014

Return of the King

Dear Readers,

There has been a buzz in Ohio, in the United States, and in the entire world about the possible return of Lebron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers professional basketball team. I’ll admit that I was one that had my eyes and ears glued to every tidbit of news. Was “King James” returning, or not? Was there a chance that the best basketball player in the world would come to lowly Cleveland, the laughingstock city of the sports world?

Aragorn led the battle for Middle Earth with Frodo, the Hobbit, and Gandalf, the Wizard in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings “Return of the King” book and movie. After an exciting scrum between Frodo and Gollum, the deformed Stoor Hobbit, Gollum bit off Frodo’s finger to get the prized and enchanted Ring. But in the fight Gollum falls with the Ring in his possession into the lava. Gollum dies, the ring is destroyed, and Middle Earth is saved.

King James is returning to Ohio, and King Aragorn returned as the King of Middle Earth. In both instances people were almost giddy with the hope of a new era of victory and peace. It seemed not too unlike the jubilation evident when Queen Elizabeth, or Prince William and Kate, visit an obscure town around the world, or in the Vatican when a new Pope is christened as the new head of the Catholic Church.

But I think it would do me well to temper my excitement about these two kings. The Cleveland Cavaliers with Lebron James may prosper for awhile…and they may even win an NBA championship. It will bring a temporary euphoria. But King James will get older and will become less and less effective as a basketball player. The euphoria will die out as the Cavs come back down to earth in mediocrity.

The “Return of the King” is a wonderful story, and it may be a source of inspiration for many of us seeking adventure in conquering the giants of our lives. But in the end it is just that, a story.

There is a King, however, whose story is real, and the victory and peace he will bring when he returns will be lasting and sure. The celebration of his followers will be unparalleled. (Note: Please read Revelation 21 and 22.)

See you next time,

Monday, July 7, 2014

Quiet Leisurely Canoe Trips vs. Wild White Water Rapid Expeditions

Dear Readers,

Does the term “living water” fascinate you as much as it does me? John indicated in his Gospel that Jesus used the reference twice, so it must have a deep meaning in our lives.

Recently I read in John 7 the following: “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”

It struck me that Jesus used the term “rivers” to describe a person coming to Him and believing in Him. He did not use “droplets”, “sprinkles”, or even “showers”.

In my opinion the term “rivers” that Jesus used is a big deal! He also used the plural, which means more than one river!

We are often told that our quiet humility and devotion to God will permeate our surroundings and influence the people around us. But does the term “rivers” that Jesus uses speak more to vibrancy and aliveness?

Are we thinking of our relationship to God in terms of being like quiet leisurely canoe trips? Or are we thinking in terms of it being more like wild white water rafting expeditions? I personally want my relationship with God to be more like wild white water rapid expeditions…perhaps with a few leisurely canoe trips along the way.

See you next time,