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Chance Encounters ~ JC Calkins

Posted: December 27th, 2013 | Category: Inspirational, Jesus Follower, Religion, Spirituality | Comments

Chance Encounters ~ JC Calkins

Jesus has a great story. He’s had this story written for a very long time, even before He had a set and the cast to play it out. It’s not His story alone, for it was conceived in Trinity. Jesus however is the Director and Leading Man  in charge of pulling it all together. Yesterday I wrote about us (the players and walk-on’s) not really knowing the Who’s Who in this story or the overall run time for this epic project. We just record the scenes day by day. Jesus has the entire ensemble, the players, the crew, the production schedule, the experts and technicians as well as the perfected script that we are all working from. One of the greatest sub-plots of this dramatic love story is the relational complexity involved, so let’s take a closer look at a chance encounter between Saul of Tarsus and the Apostle Stephen. This is the very first martyr scene in the story and the transitional start to the greatest role reversing twist ever recorded. As background, it should be noted that the cast in Part 2 of this story has been drawn almost entirely from ordinary characters, not the same old actors who dominated Part 1. Saul is a carry-over character, representing an amalgamation of the Pharisees, the Old School Faculty regimen which tragically turned this love story into a religious drama to suit their own purposes. Saul had evolved into a died-in-the-wool religious activist, doing all that he could, just as He’d been taught. He more actively persecuted (and killed) the developing community of Christ followers, than any other activist of his time. Up until this moment, most of the audience supported Saul.

The scene: Stephen had just delivered a blistering speech to the council of High Priests, condemning them all for their self serving deafness and pride (heathen hearts). They were furious with Stephen. “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw God’s glory and Jesus standing at the right side of God. “Look!” he said. “I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right side of God!” With a loud cry the Council members covered their ears with their hands. Then they all rushed at him at once, threw him out of the city, and stoned him. The witnesses left their cloaks in the care of a young man named Saul.” (Acts 7:55-58 GNT). Saul didn’t cover his ears, he witnessed this, up close and personal. Stephen, a devout and religiously literate man, broken and condemned before him, with his dying breath testified to a profound encounter with Jesus, who  was standing at the right side of the very same God, Saul thought he’d been defending from the blasphemy of Jesus. Saul’s foundational stones of belief must have cracked a bit that day. God used the martyrdom of Stephen’s death to segue the hardest heart, stiffest neck, most defiant, literate mind and convicted activist, which from any Christian perspective was evil incarnate, into a chance encounter with Jesus. A few scenes and some dramatic special effects later, Saul of Tarsus experienced the Holy Spirit within him reveal Jesus and was subsequently born again, transitioning into the Apostle Paul. Saul had been the most unlikely character which we might have ever imagined, becoming a child of God, but clearly his name was in the book of life, which we’re calling here, the script. Our role involves zero judgement, yet many opportunisttic scenes  which might seem to be merely chance encounters. I’m not sure that much if anything is really left to chance with God. The lesson is simple, never let an encounter pass without revealing the love of God, for the beneficiary may well be designated by our Lord Jesus himself.  Jesus isn’t religious, He’s the story’s key Love Interest.

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Living Gate

Posted: April 10th, 2013 | Category: Christ Follower, Inspirational, Religion, Spirituality | Comments

Taking a few steps beyond the first and second most important commandments, we learn this. “To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.”… read more

Ever Present

Posted: December 8th, 2012 | Category: Christ Follower, Christianity, Common Sense, disciple, Religion, Spirituality | Comments

All wisdom comes from God, those not believing in God engage life without wisdom, faith, true understanding and the spiritual perception provided by His Holy Spirit. For them, life is one dimensional. Without God, any love experienced is incomplete. Without God there is only the here and the now. “Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by… read more

Time Reveals Truth

Posted: November 26th, 2012 | Category: Christ Follower, Common Sense, Religion, Spirituality | Comments

To choose blindness over sight seems to neglect the purpose of the eye. Who would do that? To choose ignorance over understanding seems to neglect the purpose of the mind. Again, who would do that? I could continue, but the point here is that we are equipped with certain original equipment for reasons, and in many areas, we have duplicates. There’s no randomness to this equipment, but there are exceptions, flaws and failures, injuries and damage, yet we also have… read more

The Ultimate Bargain

Posted: November 14th, 2012 | Category: Christ Follower, Christianity, Common Sense, Religion, Spirituality | Comments (1)

This may sound like an extremist perspective, but it’s really just a normal factor in a learning journey. There are enormous differences between those who make the choice in their lives to become actual Christ Followers and those who have inherited Christianity by the ways of childhood indoctrination, human mentoring, social convenience, spousal urging or any other form of relational compromise.  Attendance at a christian school, holiday visits or even regular stops at a church do not (often alone) effectuate… read more

Washed White Like Wool

Posted: October 30th, 2012 | Category: Christ Follower, Common Sense, Religion, Spirituality | Comments

How hard is it to be different, to believe in, to do and say the right things?  For an ordinary person in this world, it’s very hard. To be different means exposing ourselves to ordinary judgement, rejection and too often condemnation. These are not the treatments we seek, we want acceptance, welcoming and appreciation. To receive these affirming treatments we must be like most of the rest of the world, like those who might offer us those passive accolades. We… read more

The Longest War

Posted: October 23rd, 2012 | Category: Christ Follower, Common Sense, Religion, Spirituality | Comments (2)

History teaches us that the longest running war was The Hundred Years War, a series of battles between France and England lasting from 1337 to 1453, or 116 years. I bought into this factoid, along with many others which have been taught within our public school systems for far too much of my life. How trustworthy is a system for education, which by law, is prohibited from teaching anything of spiritual content? Many, if not most of the wars throughout… read more