Good morning,

It has been a couple weeks since I have posted my daily message.  God had me in a place where I was wrestling with social media, my daily morning devotion time, and some self-reflection matters.   I have come through that period now, and I will begin posting again.  I have been wrestling for several now in the 13 verse of Matthew 16:11-26.  My morning reflections will be coming from the words on Jesus and his encounter with the disciples in this passage.

“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:13-26

Jesus was always calibrating invitation and challenge.  He was open and inviting to all who honestly sought him, but once they were in his presence, he then challenged them with himself, his life, his love, and his truth.   In this passage of Scripture, Jesus invited the disciples into a discussion with him by asking them the simple question, “Who do people say that I am?” He then challenged them by exposing their own motives and agenda, “get behind me Satan”, and with his agenda, “Pick up you cross and follow me.”  Jesus was always safe place to enter, where you always heard a dangerous message.

At our church, One Direction Community (ODC), I try to model it after this example of Jesus as a safe place with dangerous message. To set this as an example to be modeled by those who come so they individually are a safe place with a dangerous message.  To honor both grace and truth.

Some churches are a dangerous place with a dangerous message.  They have an extreme fundamentalism culture (dangerous) where if you don not look like them or act like them your are not welcomed, but they have a dangerous message, that is usually laced with their bias and prejudice.  Some churches are safe place with a safe message.  They are inviting and open, and anyone is welcomed to come as you are.  However, their message is safe as well.  Everyone is free and welcomed to remain as you are: no transformation, all life styles, all saviors, all love is all right.

ODC, tries to model Jesus and be a safe place, with a dangerous message.  To be inviting and open, and anyone is welcomed to come as you are, enter just as a child with no fear.  However, one where you hear the dangerous, challenging message of Jesus.  All are welcome to come as they are, but no one is welcomed to stay as they are.  That was not the message of Jesus. That is not the message of the cross.  The Holy Spirit is and equal opportunity critique of sin.   To be “saved”, requires you to be saved from something-to something.   

In this cultural climate of tolerance, fairness, and political correctness (of which Jesus was neither) and social agendas, what is presented as publically correct if often not Biblically correct.

Read the Gospels and encounters Jesus had with people:  Matthew 19:16-21; Luke 9:1-10; John 4:1-42, 6:60-68, 8:1-11

Then spend time in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit two personal questions about your life and reflect on them.

Am I safe?  Am I welcoming and inviting to people, with out prejudice or pre-requirements?

Do I have a dangerous message? To those that I have influence over, do I with grace challenge them in the areas of sin in their lives or keep my message at a safe, superficial comfort level?

Please post your thoughts or questions in the comment box below.