Fight Club? it me, or have you noticed that it seems like it’s everyone versus everyone in the church these days?

This church badmouths that church. Leaders pit themselves against other leaders, denominations against other denominations. Ministry versus ministry, department versus department, congregation versus pastor, pastor versus board… I could go on. But it’s actually painful to list these conflicts.

There are a ton of verses in the Bible about loving one another, preferring one another, serving one another, and yet, we contend (fight). We contend not for the faith as we are encouraged to do (Jude 3), but we contend with one another. Seriously, what are we thinking?

I think we can answer that question in one word: us. We are thinking about ourselves.  As Americans, we celebrate the scrappy underdog, who fights his way to victory. In some contexts this is great, in others, not so much. When it comes to interpersonal skills this is not the way to win.

The Bible is pretty clear. The Bible refers to all followers of Jesus as His bride, His body, His church. It also says, “If a family divides itself into groups which fight each other, that family will fall apart.” (Mark 3:25 GNT)

As believers, we should all be aware that this kind of division is contrary to the Word of God. It is an attitude sported by the immature, the arrogant, and the self-centered. Does that mean we have to agree on everything? Not gonna happen. Does it mean we should make our focus the things we agree about? I believe it does. When we talk smack about other believers, we’re talking smack about Jesus’ bride, His beloved. How does it go over with you when someone talks poorly about your spouse, your kid, your best friend? Yeah, it’s like poking a bear with a sharp stick, right?

So, let’s take off the boxing gloves and use the verses to overcome the versus. Let’s contend for something not against everything and everybody.

1 John 4:7-8 MSG “My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love.”


photo credit: shawnstpeter


What’s That Exotic Scent You’re Wearing?
What’s that smell?

Believe it or not, this used to be a pick up line! Can you imagine a gorgeous guy coming up to you and asking, “What’s that exotic scent you’re wearing?” Um…. Secret? Seriously, people are influenced by scents. Think about it:

  • Going outside and smelling your neighbor grilling
  • Walking past the Cinnabon stand in the airport
  • Getting the blast of coffee-meets-cigarette breath as someone talks a little too close

We all have smells we love and smells we hate. I don’t like the smell that lingers after cooking fish or the perfume, Taboo, that my mom used to wear, or BO cloaked in cologne. I love the earthy, woodsy smell of the forest, maple pecan candles and newborn babies’ breath.

God has smells He likes too.

  1. He loves the smell of Jesus and His sacrifice for us. Ephesians 5:2 (GNT)  Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave his life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God“.
  2. He loves the smell of true Christians who are sharing God’s love. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (AMP) “ But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him. 15 For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;”
  3. He loves the smell of our offering or sacrifice for others. Philippians 4:18 (GNT) “Here, then, is my receipt for everything you have given me—and it has been more than enough! I have all I need now that Epaphroditus has brought me all your gifts. They are like a sweet-smelling offering to God, a sacrifice which is acceptable and pleasing to him.

We take great pains in our culture to smell good. We spend a ton on deodorant, perfume, body spray, body wash, mint toothpaste, mouthwash, foot powder, lotion and the like just so we smell good. But as Christians, how much am I investing in smelling good to God. He doesn’t notice our outward smell. He smells my heart and your heart.

He doesn’t notice when we’re wearing Juicy Couture, Dior or Channel. He notices when we smell like Jesus. A heart that loves God, shares with others about God’s love and sacrifices for the needs of others is a heart that smells wonderful to God. Jesus loved God. Jesus shared about God’s love. Jesus sacrificed for our need.  I want that exotic scent I’m wearing to be Jesus.

What do you smell like today?

Reward for Lost Girl

We’ve all seen signs posted on telephone poles that promise a reward for help in finding a lost dog or a wallet. In fact, as a kid I used to fantasize about finding a wallet with a thousand dollars in it. I imagined that when I returned it to the owner, he’d give me a hundred dollars as a reward. Uh… that never happened.lost_dog_poster

But there was a lost girl once and a reward was offered for her return. The odd thing is that she turned herself in and she received the reward. How does that work? Why should she get the reward?

We have all been lost at one time or another, some maybe still are, but God… God offers a reward to all who would allow themselves to be found. This reward is more precious than anything money can buy. God is offering a place at His table, a spot in His family, the royal family of heaven. He is offering an eternal reward.

Unlike that $100 I used to dream about receiving, this is a reward that will never be spent, never be less valuable than it was the day you receive it. God’s table is full of good stuff, love, joy, peace, help, comfort… the list of benefits is long.

Life can be tough, especially when one is lost in the challenges (aka cruddy situations) of life. But like the girl above who turned herself in to Jesus, you can allow yourself to be found and collect that reward too.

I can tell you from personal experience, that girl – yeah, she’s never looked back and wished to be lost again. She is feasting at God’s table, resting in the security of His loving family, enjoying her reward – and she hasn’t even gotten to the eternal part!

“I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.” John Newton


Note: When you’re ready to be found, check this out.