Archives For Theology

Feeling Like a Drain Plug

February 1, 2013 — 3 Comments

The Christian’s life is a fickle thing fraught with interesting turns and challenging twists. One day we feel like God is our BFF and nothing can separate us from His abundant love and the next day we feel like there is a cosmic chasm between God’s grace and the fate of our everlasting souls. While taking a bath today after a somewhat intense workout I put my hand over the drain and felt the pressure of the water weighing heavy on my hand. I thought about what a perfect metaphor a drain plug is for the Christian life because of one major fact: WE ARE OFTEN STUCK IN BETWEEN.

You read that correctly. If you are a Christian then you understand there comes a time where the tension of the drain plug becomes the very definition of our souls. Because we are so close to going down the drain but we, for some reason, are alive but the weight of the water (the world) is pressing down on us. So there we are, stuck between being flushed and holding the world and the pressure is too much to bear but alas, we are stuck.

Yet…

To relieve the pressure the plug must be drained. The plug cannot pull itself, it must be pulled. Jesus died so that all the pressures of this world can go down the drain (Matthew 11:28-30). Did you know that a drain is not designed to go down the drain? We are not designed to be flushed, drained, evacuated, disintegrated, bombarded or discarded.

WE ARE DESTINED FOR GREATER THINGS.

We are invited to participate in the kingdom of God and to reign-in what God is doing in heaven so that it can be established on earth and the chains of spiritual warfare cannot have dominion over your souls. We are promised an eternal kingdom where the apostle John tells us that the second death will not reign over our souls (Rev. 20:6). Did you catch that? Jesus is pulling the plug and all of the worldly sorrows are flushed.

So what do you need to let go?

What do you need to focus on? In what ways are you experiencing (not?) the abundant life (John 10:10)?

In what ways are you feeling sorry for yourself and not allowing Jesus to change your life?

Feel like a drain plug?

Allow Jesus to pull the plug.


You can read the first three posts here, here and here. Where do we go from here? I am sure there is all of the statistical data to discuss and missional “stratgery” that merits our attention. But if we take a step back and ask, “What works?” I am not sure that we can come up with a cookie-cutter plan that works for everyone. But that’s what we want isn’t it? We want a P90x program that can be plugged into any church context that will automatically multiply our numbers. We tell ourselves thought it’s not about numbers it is about saving souls (souls are numbers right?) yet the pressure of our budgets and the depleting numbers in our Sunday night service is evident that something must budge. So we want an evangelism P90x to plug in and get results. I think we should move in a different direction…one that is simple. Consider The Skit Guys and their hilarious video that closes with a point I want to highlight….

Investment into one person. We are not called to save the world but we can invest in one person. Eddie and Tommy both talked about how investment made on their part or on the part of someone else made the difference in salvation and changed their lives. Last night one of my former youth group kids spoke to my current youth group and he talked about a relationship he had with a girl for 2 1/2 years and how he was able to baptize her. Investment. One person. Full focus. Prayers, efforts, service, study all focused on one. So often we worry about all the things around us when sometimes God reveals the fertile soil that is right in front of us.

What if we taught students to invest their lives into people for a year committed to discipling them and helping them grow over a period of time. Then watching that person do the exact same thing. Friends, discipleship and evangelism does not have to be mutually exclusive. They can be one in the same. So that is what I have learned. It takes investment, relationships and a whole lot of God in this process.

What would you add?



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Our students just got back from attending a conference about evangelism and the discussion that came from that from our students was extremely helpful and has shifted my thoughts on what it means to be evangelistic or to do evangelism. Our discussions seem to center around the difficult conversations we have when talking to people about God, Scripture and multiple issues. It seems that the student’s perception of evangelism is that it cannot be based on one simple, “throw-it-all-out-there” conversation but it takes multiple conversations built on a relationship.

That’s not to say the gospel cannot be offered to someone whom we have only just met but it is to say that most of the time evangelism takes time, initiative and a whole lot of prayer. This leads me to how we teach students what it means to be evangelistic. For a long period of time I taught students at Main Street that evangelism is sitting down and studying systematic doctrines so that when people assent to a knowledge of who God is and what the bible teaches then they could make a decision to follow Christ and put Christ on in baptism.

That’s sounds good except the issue I have with it is that the first century Christians did not do evangelism this way. I know you are quick to go to all of the conversion stories in the book of Acts but I want you to think about something for a minute:

When Peter, Paul and others are involved in the conversion of people what exactly is said? What is discussed? Do they use Scriptures and if so what Scriptures do they use?

I think what happened in the beginning stages of the church was that the Spirit played a role in the preaching and teaching and what happened was that a lot of people bore witness (Greek – martureo) to the works, words and life of Jesus and part of that testimony was how Jesus completely changed their own life.

 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard,which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3)

There was testimony from what they saw in Jesus himself but they, in turn, bore witness to that testimony with the joy (1 John 1:4) of fellowship in Christ. In other words, Christ changed their life and they shared that news everywhere (Dare we talk about the apostle Paul here?). The original disciples were not quick at sharing dogma (i.e., teaching) but at sharing life. They were vulnerable and they invested themselves in the work and ministry of local churches all around the Roman Empire. That does not mean a system of beliefs is not necessary for Christians as part of sanctification includes knowing what to believe and what to do with those beliefs.

Yet it is entirely different to approach Scripture saying, “What do I need to know?” versus having the attitude, “What does God delight in or what brings God joy?” One seeks information and the other seeks transformation. I think where we fail in evangelism is that we are more interested in making converts instead of disciples. We seek to concentrate on their eternity (which is absolutely important) but we fail to tell them what to do here in the meantime.

So I want to blog a little about evangelism and how it relates to youth ministry. I admit that I am not good at evangelism because I am not good at sharing my life with people. I recently was asked to speak at the aforementioned conference about evangelism and my response was as blunt and confessional as I could be:

 I feel like I have not been evangelistic enough and teaching about evangelism when I am not practicing it like I should sounds a bit troubling to me.

Yet, I am learning. So join me as we journey together.


I have had little time to process all of the lessons, classes and discussions.  I thought I would relay some meanderings here that might help participants of NCYM, fellow youth ministers, church members and everyone else. I wish to do this in a sort of “lessons learned” format.

  1. For Youth Ministers, there is much to learn. I made the comment to a vendor at the conference that I have been in youth ministry for 8 1/2 years and feel like I still need to learn every day. Every… single… day.
  2. Never underestimate the healing of intense worship. Just about every speaker who was not COC commented on how beautiful the acapella singing was in the worship. Each night I felt myself drawn to the father through worship with a few hundred other folks who were bowing at the throne.
  3. We need the church. I heard this a few times in lessons and discussions. As broken and imperfect as the church is we need her. Why? She is the bride of Christ and the kingdom of God runs with, through and from her.
  4. Those in ministry need to be light before they can be leaders. Too often we are put to the front lines of leadership without really understanding what it means to “walk in the light.” We cannot lead a student to a place we have never been.
  5. The Church of Christ is still a beautiful place for students, families and the world to be participants of the kingdom of God. You say the word “Church of Christ” and people start freaking out and there are even some who are embarrassed by the name. We are not perfect folks (What denomination is?) but we are striving to be biblical, to listen to God, to seek the lost and to make heaven a reality here on earth.
  6. I am not the only fish in the sea. That applies positively and negatively.  Sometimes I think I am the only one going through struggles and conferences like this reassure me that I am not alone. On the flip side, often I think I have the best idea or my youth ministry is somehow better than others and discussions with other people humble me knowing there are far better youth ministries than the one I am serving.
  7. Theology matters. I wonder if people’s perception of a conference is that we go to worship and talk about our problems and then come home somewhat refreshed. Realistically, we spend a lot of time talking about the biblical text and wrestling with it and it’s implications in our ministries. I was refreshed to see how many people cared about Scripture. It was warming.

What would you guys add?

 


I am writing this from the Denver airport as my time to fly is upon me. I will give a few highlights from Day 3.

Wednesday Morning Mike Cope “Community in Lars and the Real GirlHebrews

  • It’s a movie about church, it begins in church and ends in church.
  • Hebrews
    • Imagining a world where we are not our own.
    • Somebody who watches for you.
    • The real test for community is the worst things you have done who is up there watching you.

Wednesday Morning Keynote Scot McKnight @ScotMcKnight “Did Jesus Found the Church?”

Major Idea: The church is naughty and the kingdom is nice

–       People today love the kingdom but are embarrassed by the church

–       The kingdom has come to mean “good things Christians do in the public sector usually involved in the political process.”

  • It has nothing to do with the church…people say
  • Social Justice? Where did we get this idea of social justice? There is one idea of justice in Scripture. Justice is connected to righteousness and justification.
  • Peace…compassion…walking from Cape Town to Alexandria raising money for water.

–       Kingdom has been flattened into an ethic: peace, justice.

–       “When we flatten kingdom to an ethic we deny the gospel.”

–       We have a young group of Christians whose kingdom theory has to do with changed political processes and are neglecting the church.

  • But…doing good in a society is a good thing.
  • Being compassionate is a good thing.
  • Working for peace in our world is a good thing.
  • But we do this because we are disciples of Jesus.

–       Good work versus Kingdom work

  • Did Ghandi do kingdom work?

–       The most profound act of kingdom work is when we celebrate Eucharist on Sunday morning.

–       “You cannot be committed to kingdom unless you are committed to the church and your commitment to the church is the sum total of your commitment to the kingdom.”

–       It is far too easy giving money to Rwanda and not to local people in the church.

–       Matthew 16:13-20

  • Their options to the question were not good enough.
  • Jesus was more than a prophet.  Prophetic Christianity is not enough.
  • The answer is that Jesus is messiah.
  • 1 Samuel 8—“They want a king because they want to be like other nations.”
    • Saul collapse
    • David…
    • Eventually they realize that Jesus is the king.
  • Peter labels Jesus with the right title. When the Messiah was said all the ideas came to completion: Temple, Torah, Land, Citizens, Command, Covenant.

–       When Jesus is the Messiah kingdom will always mean more than social justice.

–       Peter had no idea what Messiah really meant.

  • Messiah –> Kingdom –> Cross –> Resurrection –> Kingdom
  • Kingdom and social justice does not mix well.

–       Jesus came to establish a whole new social order. The ekklesia….the church.

–       There is an inextricable connection between kingdom and church.

–       Church is the only place kingdom work can occur because in the church is the only place where Jesus is king.

–       Kingdom never refers to social action in Scripture.

  • We have become intoxicated with social power and justice.

–       The kingdom is more than an ethic because Jesus is more than a prophet.

–       Kingdom work is about telling people about King Jesus.  Summoning people in the church as the place where God’s redemptive work is now alive.

Wednesday Afternoon Jon Acuff @JonAcuff “Our Relationship With the Gap”

Our job is hard because…

1)   We never feel it is over…

2)   There’s no manual for most of the things you do

3)   The success rate is really low for youth ministers

4)   You run into a period of life most people run from

  1. 1 out of every 4 girl will be raped by the time they graduate

5)   We don’t get to see the end of the song.

Three things of the challenges

1)   SUCCESS

–       It’s so easy to compare.

–       Never compare your beginning to somebody else’s middle.

–       Always play to the size of your heart not to the size of your audience.

–       If you tie what you do to the success/failure of it you will disappoint.

–       Measure your obedience not your results

–       God will not be handcuffed by my failures or unleashed by my successes.

2)   FEAR

–       It only bothers you when you do things that matter.

–       Voices?

  • You are not a youth minister…
  • You are woman.

–       The best way to fight those is to share those. Fears fears community.

–       The higher you climb in leadership the harder it is for you to be honest.

–       “Enough” is a slippery slope

–       If you ask “fear” when you will have enough experience it will be later.

–       Fear always says, “This is forever.”

–       What to do with voices

  • Write down the voice…
  • Answer it with truth
  • Share them

3)   HATERS

–       We are not good with criticism and compliments

  • Critic’s Math – 1 Insult + 1000 Compliments = 1 Insult
  • We have the ability to lose heart with insults.
  • Are you giving power to the very people you don’t need to give it to.

Those were the extent of my notes. I did not attend an afternoon class because I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Scot McKnight and Rusty Pettus for an hour and talk theology. Scot was gracious enough to extend some time just to talk and share some coffee. He even bought my coffee which he did not have to do. Before I close this blog I want to share something I did on my way back from Denver. I visited the Century 16 Theater in Aurora where 12 people were killed by James Holmes. Tragedy. Just like praying at Columbine I wanted to reflect and pray at the theater. To the left is a picture I took while driving to the theater.

Tomorrow I hope to reflect on the week with some implications.


Great day I experienced with classes, super-sessions and keynote messages from some of the finest people in Christianity. I typed 10 pages of notes yesterday so I cannot include everything here but I want to give you some highlights that stood out to me.

Tuesday Morning, Mike Cope “Spiritual Intubation: How Community Keeps Us Alive” The Wizard of Oz: Revelation’s View of Community

  • “No church ever existed in a pure state. The church is made up of sinners. The fleas come with the dogs.” (Eugene Peterson)
  • Four characters who are known by their deficiencies. Much like Christians today.
  • Showing of who Oz really is. “The great Oz has spoken, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
  • Pergamum
    • It’s a great distance from Colorado Springs to Pergamum.
    • In Pergamum it was very, very different.
    • Everywhere people went they told two stories: the power of Rome and Greek gods and goddesses. Everywhere they went they are told that they are caught up in and how could they not believe it. It “has to be true.”  Every market, athletic event, silver item told them about temple worship.
    • Where is the Pergamum church of Christ?
      • A tiny…insignificant few.
      • Imagine holding on to the story of Jesus while walking among the temples and other places where the minority is huge.
      • Have you been the minority?
      • Power, honor, identity was wrapped up into gods and Rome not Christ.
    • Persecuted Christians get it
    • “Though St. John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw he saw no creatures so wild as one of his own commentators.” G. K. Chesteron
  • Deep Community is anchored in Jesus
  • Deep community has to be eschatological in nature.
  • Deep community is at its best when it is part of a mission…a larger story.

Tuesday Morning Keynote Kurt Johnston @kurtjohnston “Deep, Redefined”

  • Have you ever stopped and thought about all the things in youth ministry that you don’t do very well? We are great at trying to control the perceptions of other people. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great at creating perception of us.
  • Four truths I have learned that have 1) pointed out my shallowness and 2) led him into a deeper experience in faith.
    • Life is a squiggle
    • I need a travel partner
    • Busyness will keep you in the shallow end.
    • When you begin to have a long view of youth ministry

Tuesday Super Session Frank Viola @FrankViola “The Missing Ingredient”

Observations about ministry to young people:

  • Catch30 Crisis – Human beings go through developmental stages as they get old. When they are 30 they reassess every decision they made in their 20s and they either abandon what hey believed or abandon them. You don’t know where someone is spiritually until they are thirty. You could not serve in the house of God until you were 30. Jesus did not begin his ministry until he was 30. Young people need to be prepared for this.
  • There is a difference between youthful enthusiasm and spirituality. Most of the big Christian movements are built on youthful enthusiasm. The problem is that many operates on youthful enthusiasm and the well runs dry
  • You can’t pass on to those whom you minister to what you have not experienced yourself.
  • I have to prepare them for the forgotten beatitude. Blessed is he who is not offended by me.

Other Notes from class…

  • If you cut the bible in any place it will bleed Jesus Christ.
  • Moses and Christ
  • Creation and Christ
  • Isaac and Christ
  • Jacob and Christ
  • Conclusion  – #1 – Find Christ in the bible. #2 – Do business with the Lord

Tuesday Afternoon Class 1 Josh Graves @JoshGraves “The Bible Jesus Read: Genesis 1-2”

2 Timothy 3:14-17; John 5

  • We need a more mystical understanding of Scripture. But also how it calls us to new spaces.
  • “All Scripture” does not exist yet and he has in mind Torah.
  • Inspired…he does not infallible, inerrant. They never show up in the bible. Sometimes the most important work we do is not learning new things but relearning old things.
  • 2 Timothy is not about proving Scripture over science but it is about inviting people into God’s world in order to see the world differently and “to do something about it.”
  • These stories carry the freight in any given culture.

Genesis 1

  • God can’t help but to create. He is in control. The things God creates would not be believable if we have not seen them.
  • Everything else that has creativity or imagination that somehow it is all linked back to the God who started.
  • One of the ways Genesis invites us to go deeper and that we live in a good creation. Does not deny the dark side of life but he made everything and called it good.
  • Most people who tell the story of God begin with Genesis 3 and not Genesis 1.
  • We have to introduce paradox to our students. Life is full of joy and pain. Paradox is one of the greatest contribution to the Western world.

Tuesday Afternoon Class 2 Sally Gary @centerpeaceinc “Reaching out to Teens Who Identify as Gay and Lesbians”

Many who struggle with same sex attraction but still love the Lord.  Struggles do not divide us.

Starved for Intimacy. Facebook and its struggles for intimacy. Question is: How can we meet this need? This desire for community. There is a great need for this connection.

What teens learn from the world: Glee, Modern Family.

What teens learn from the church: Nasty messages about homosexuals from the church

What they need is looking for a safe place.

How to be a safe place?

Deal with our own fears.

  • Change our thinking
  • Change our language
  • Listen
  • Be consistent
  • Model the Love and Acceptance of Christ

Tuesday Night Keynote Frank Viola @FrankViola “God so loved the world vs. Love not the world.”

The world in the New Testament is used in two ways…

  1. Speaks of the material universe. Jesus of Nazareth is this world’s true Lord.
  2. A system or network or order of things designed to draw us away from God.

Historically Christians have taken two postures: 1) Retreated from the world’s system (Isolationism) 2) Enmeshed by the world and married to it.

The most miserable person is a Christian who is living in a way where deep inside them they are told to give something up and they can’t. When we are in community with other Christians the Holy Spirit is clearest.

The Holy Spirit will reveal to you what is of the world.

2 Kind of legalists: 1) Salvation by works 2) I am going to take what the Holy Spirit has shown me personally and make it a law to you.

“The gospel spreads best not through force but through fascination” (Shane Claiborne)

Dinner in Colorado Springs: Uchenna Ethiopian Restaurant

This was ranked #2 in Colorado Springs by TripAdvisor and it was awesome. I had Yebeg Alecha which was tender pieces of lamb marinated with butter then sautèed with ginger, garlic, and 12 spices. There were no forks but you had this roll that you put the meat and the sauce in. It was excellent. The owner’s name is Maya and they cooked everything to order so it took a while but the food was worth it. They have mostly organic food and a substantial vegetarian menu. I have never tried authentic Ethiopian cuisine but this was a must! Went a left the owner looked at me and said, “Go in peace.” I love her already.

 


You can read the first post in this series by clicking here.

Satan is doing his best to make sure 2013 is a year you wish would never have occurred. He is using his schemes to concoct the deadliest, most sinful potion imaginable with one purpose alone: to thwart the plans of God for you. Here are the remaining things Satan will do to destroy 2013 for you.

4. He will confuse you with success

What? You heard me right. Success. The “American Dream”, the do-it-yourself mentality, the “if it’s to be it’s up to me” kind of attitude will haunt you this year. Success is not bad but the confusing point of success comes when we think all of it came at the hands of our own initiative. Then we think we are invincible and pretty soon there is no need for God. In a nutshell we become deists (And all of this talk about returning to our forefathers who were essentially a bunch of deists) .

3. He will specifically cater his onslaught to something you struggle with that nobody even knows about

The Hebrew author calls it the “sin that clings so closely” (12:1). I don’t have to define that for you do I? Odds are, you know exactly what I am talking about. That pesky little critter crawling in your heart has done some serious damage and besides you, two people know about this: God and Satan. On one hand God is trying to offer you freedom from that depravity but on the other hand Satan is trying to enslave you holding you tight to that sin. 2013 will bring a lot of different things but one thing is for sure: your sins will find you out one way or another.

2. He will try to divide your relationships

Unity is something that will be a challenge for every organized group. Satan finds some of his best work on the front lines of churches who are fighting for the kingdom of God. Satan tries to divide marriages by creating atmospheres of disloyalty and distrust spreading lies and causing couples to end what used to be a strong relationship.

1. He will do his best to freeze your dreams

The other day I was watching my girls talk on this phone (an old iPod of mine that broke) and they were carrying on two different conversations with people who did not even exist. I chided, “What in the world are you girls doing?” They responded back, “We are imagining dad, leave us alone.” I smiled. Grown-ups quit dreaming and I think they do this because fear grips them into a state of paralysis and what could be becomes, at least to them, what will never be. Satan freezes dreams.

So there you have it. The good thing is that the power of Satan has already been defeated at the cross. Satan has no control over those whom God has chosen in Christ and if we place our allegiance to the lordship of Jesus then what can Satan do to us? Make 2013 the year that you finally become a servant to the master and do not let Satan destroy you.


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It’s inevitable. As long as mankind is on this earth Satan is doing his best to thwart the plans, goals and desires of those in the kingdom of God. He loves doing that type of thing. Remember when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness and Jesus defeated his temptations? Luke records something that we miss from Matthew’s account:

And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:13)

An opportune time? Eugene Peterson in The Message words it this way, “The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.” He did not give up on Jesus as Deity in Flesh was presumably tempted up to his death. Yet we presume to believe that all of our resolutions, goals, vision and plans for 2013 will somehow be accomplished by our effort with no forthcoming barriers standing in our way.

It doesn’t happen that way. Every vision/goal/plan must account for the realities of stumbling blocks and challenges that inevitably come thrashing at our way. Satan has a way of doing that. Here are 10 things I believe Satan will do in an attempt to destroy you, your church, your organization, your initiative, your marriage and anything else you are associated with.

10. He will distract you.

Distractions are those little pieces of things that look good at first (business ventures, relationships, initiatives) but all they do is distract you from your vision. It is hard for you to accomplish anything without some sort of distraction coming your way. The key, I think, is the ability to discern what is a justifiable distraction versus a satanic distraction. Stay focused.

9. He will make you afraid.

Fear is something I have a lot of and it is difficult to manage. The “what if’s” pile up and cause me to become unfocused, timid and distrustful. This is one of Satan’s greatest tools. He promotes fear in you that will distract you (#1) and cause you to do what everyone is doing: which is nothing.

8. He will lie to you

He may even cause people to lie about you but one thing is for sure…he is full of lies. The trick is to not buy the lie that Satan is selling you. You are too this or not enough that or you need this or you need that. He will lie to you and bait you with something that is so tantalizing that you will not have the will power to resist. When you do bite on the bait it is only when you get burned do you realize that you bought the lie.

7. He will attack your finances.

Odds are, he has already done this. Credit cards, keeping up with the Jones’, and keeping your expenses greater than your income is a recipe for disaster. Of course, this is a heart issue as Satan does not control your bank account (or does he?) but the truth is that most couples, churches and organizations fight over money and in a consumerist, money-driven, American-dream smoking world that we live in this is Satan’s easiest weapon.

6. He will make you lazy.

Technology does a lot for our culture but one thing is for sure, it has made us lazy. Phil Robertson (from Duck Dynasty) has a lot of wisdom saying he is “low-tech in a high-tech society.” It’s not just technology though that has done this. It is complacency and a hunger and thirst for anything and everything to quench our selfish desires. Instead of working, thinking, meditating we have become reactive, defensive and ultimately lazy.

5. He will take something from you.

I don’t want to get in a theological debate about this but in Job it seems to me that in Job 1 God allows Satan to take things from Job. His wealth, his possessions, his family and ultimately his health. Something will be taken from you this year. You might not be able to say it is from Satan but nonetheless Satan will have his hand in it in some capacity. When what we hold treasure to on this earth is taken from us that is an immediate challenge to see if we serve God or gods. We may lose a loved one, we may lose our jobs, we may lose the house, we may lose a friend, we may lose safety and security. But what does it profit a man if he gains the whole word yet loses his own soul?

Stay tuned tomorrow for the final 4…


I was watching Shrek 2 with my kids the other day and noticed something that sparked my attention. Shrek and his wife Fiona (both ogres) visit Fiona’s parents who are the King and Queen of the kingdom Far, Far Away (I feel like my maturity is dropping). Fiona’s parents never met Shrek and the encounter is fraught with disagreement because Shrek is an ogre and he can’t change that. Fiona and Shrek argue because Shrek feels as if Fiona is challenging who he is and who he can never be (a beautiful prince to please her “Mummy and Daddy”) and so Shrek leaves the castle. He meets Fairy Godmother and finds out she has a potion that could change his fate. The potion is called “Happily Ever After” and it is supposed to make their dreams come true. Shrek and Donkey both drink the potion and Shrek turns into a handsome person while Donkey turns into a white stallion. See video below…

The problem is that Shrek’s happily ever after is only skin-deep. He is still the same ogre and his looks are at best superficial. As it turns out, his happily ever after was right in front of his eyes the entire time. This leads me to the point…

Don’t drink the “happily Ever After” Potion…It sucks!

Seriously, how much time, money and resources have you wasted chasing dreams that in the end, do nothing but leave you brokenhearted and empty-handed? Think about every “new” thing that marketing gurus are trying to get you to buy and their gran pitch is that in some form or fashion this new “thing” will somehow make your life better. It will make your life easier. It will make your dreams come true. But you have to buy it. Insert sigh here.

Your happily ever after potion could be a relationship that you are in which has become toxic at best. Or it might even be the pursuit of a relationship which has captivated your passion and you think to yourself, “If I just have this relationship then my life will be happily ever after.” When those dreams don’t come true your life…

…to put it bluntly…

Sucks!!!

It’s not God’s fault either. You bought the potion Satan sold you and ignored the warnings God gave you and your crappy life just might be the direct result of your own folly. Why? Because anything less than glorifying God is idolatry.

In your possessions…

“Because life does not consist in the abundance of things” (Luke 12:15).

In relationships….

“Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?” (Isaiah 2:22).

Life is not about a “happily ever after” it is about a “glorifying God forever.” There is no potion for that. There is no quick fix for that. And if you put your life, your worth, your energy and your passion in things that hold a temporal value then life will suck.

So don’t drink the potion.

Drink, instead, from the water which gives life and life eternal (John 4).