Death on the Arkansas River

Nov. 20th Sunday Readings

fc-white-water-raftingIn high school I went on a high adventure trip to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. We rode horses at 10,000 feet. We visited the Air Force Academy. It was an amazing trip. The highlight was when we went on a 2 day whitewater rafting down the Arkansas river.

Whitewater rafting on a seriously dangerous river like the Arkansas isn’t something one does on their own. We hired a outfitting company to rent us the rafts, supplies, and to provide guides for the river. We were assigned three expert guides all who knew the river well and seemed to know what they were doing at all times.

Before we left on our trip, we went over the rapids we would be rafting through; I literally thought I was going to die. Each rapid was rated based on the likelihood that you will survive if you were to fall overboard. A level 1 rapid is a timid little flutter of water that will barely soak your suit if you fall into it. A level 6 is almost certain death if you were to fall out of the boat. We had 2 level 5s and handful of 4s and 3s. The one that scared me the most was called “The Widow Maker.” So scared.

Yet, I was confident that we would all be okay. Why? I trusted my guide. When he yelled “Left side!!” The left side of the boat would paddle like crazy. When he told the right side to reverse, they would paddle backwards. When we were on the water, our guide was 100% in charge.

Have you ever had a time when someone was 100% in charge of your actions and decisions? Have you ever given someone else that kind of power?

Everyday we make hundreds of decisions. When I was in the raft on the Arkansas river, I gave up my own opinion of what to do in each situation to someone else who knew better what was best for me. In our lives, we have the opportunity to give power to Jesus, to make him king of our lives, because he knows what is best for us. If we really believe that God loves and wants what is best for us in every situation, why wouldn’t we let him rule our hearts?

This Sunday we celebrate Christ the King Sunday. We recognize and celebrate Jesus as king. And we do that with a gospel about his crucifixion. Why? First, Jesus is labeled king by the very men who killed him. Secondly, the very means of his death is the way that he conquered death. Jesus’ demise is his triumph. What looks like failure is in truth, victory – the victory of a conquering king.

Jesus desires the best for us more than even we do. He loves us more than we love ourselves. Jesus is the kind who conquered death and wants to give us life and live in abundance. Will we let him be our king?

One of my favorite songs is “King of My Heart” by Sara MacMillian. You can listen to it here.

I cannot tell a lie.

The Good Word for Nov 22. For the complete Sunday readings click here.

When I was 10 years old a friend and I were kicking a soccer ball against a wall of the outside of my house. On accident he missed the wall, hit a storm door and shattered the glass out of the door. I went my parents and repeated the famous line from George Washington, “I cannot tell a lie.” And then quietly confessed, “Jason did it.”

It seems that honesty in leaders is important. The story of George Washington cutting down a cherry tree is known to nearly every school child (at least it was, when I was growing up.) We called Abraham Lincoln, “Honest Abe.” Nothing is more scandalous to a leader than being caught lying.

I think there is a difference between “not lying” and what the gospel says Jesus came to do, to “testify to the truth.” Avoiding stating falsehoods is avoiding evil. But Jesus just didn’t come to avoid evil; Jesus came to save the world. Jesus came to testify to the truth.

Jesus bears witness to the truth of God. In the gospel, Jesus says this is the very reason he was born. Jesus mission was to not only share the truth about God, but be the very way in which that truth is made manifest. In other words, Jesus shares the good news and is the good news.

This weekend we celebrate Christ the King Sunday. Every year we hold the truth that Jesus is king of heaven and earth and came to establish his kingdom on earth. If honesty is important to leadership, then Jesus’ kingship is built upon the foundation of the greatest truth – that God loves us and died for us so that we could be with him forever.

The last line of the gospel should challenge us to ask, “Do I listen to Jesus’ voice? Do I belong to the truth?”

Live it:
Listen to the song read the lyrics to Here is our King by David Crowder Band.