Posted by: Don Linnen | 30 April 2015

Guilty as Charged

Was last Sunday just another day in the Kingdom? A few hours earlier the nation of Nepal had been brought to it’s knees. A few hours later the city of Baltimore was about to unravel.

In retrospect, how was that Sunday for me? It is all about me, right?

My morning was pretty good. Pecan pancakes. Bacon. Fruit and vege protein smoothie. But by noon I was in trouble. Again. I was convicted on five counts of flagrant transgressions.

Bryan Dunagan, Senior Pastor at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, talked about walking humbly during our 11 o’clock service. Not every sermon sticks with me – not by a long shot. This one did.

He reminded me that pride blinds us to injustice. That thought alone leads me to pause before I judge either side of the simmering conflicts between police and civilians.

On the charge of pridefulness: GUILTY as charged.

Dunagan urged us to walk in community. He said it’s hard to be humble when you walk alone. But I sure do like flying solo sometimes. A lot of times. I strongly relate to the old motto for reconnaissance pilots: “alone, unarmed, and unafraid.” The only problem is that unarmed part. When you’re trying to do it all yourself – do it without the Lord – you are pretty much unarmed.

On the charge of stubborn, willfulness: GUILTY as charged.

Next Dunagan reminded us of the old maxim “may you be covered in the dust of your rabbi.” Written perhaps 200 years before Christ, it encourages us to walk very closely behind a master teacher so that we don’t miss a single thing he says or does.

On the charge of not paying close attention to Jesus: GUILTY as charged.

His next point was that we need to walk towards the messes. There’s a huge, sad mess 12 time zones away in Nepal. But there’s also one in Dallas 10 miles to the west, or 8 miles to the south, or 3 miles to the east. There’s probably one right down our street that I haven’t figured out.

On the charge of avoiding the messes: GUILTY as charged.

Dunagan’s final reminder is what Jesus told anyone who’d follow Him – you need to carry a cross. You need to deny yourself, take up a cross, and follow Him daily. That’s a very unpopular concept in our current culture based on the entitlements of comfort, pleasure, and success.

On the charge of whining when I’m not comfortable: GUILTY as charged.

You can’t solve the problem until you define the problem. The charges against me pretty well define my problem. Solving it is the next big step in my strong walk.

Last night a friend told me of three questions Mother Teresa often asked her visitors:

1. Why were you born?

2. What is your pain?

3. What are you doing about it?

Being a good steward of our life means being a good steward of our pain. The good news is that the pain leads to a life that is fulfilling, freeing, joyful, and exciting.

I wish I could take credit for these thoughts. I cannot. They came from the mouth of Bryan Dunagan. You will be much better served to listen to them from his own mouth than settle for what you read here.


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