“Laura’s Own Bible-y Stuff List!”

Well, Laura has done it! She met Rob’s list challenge, and she even taught him something in the process! As a bonus, she admitted getting some help! (The first item was from was her most recent “Time Warp Trip” when Laser Eyes Jesus gave her an answer, and the second item was from her first “Time Warp Trip” where she learned you don’t just get Laser Eyes Jesus to read about the Gospel off of a piece of paper!)

The lists, comments, and suggestions you readers provided were great! And I think it’s really important to emphasize, as several of you pointed out, the things we do that please God are really things He enables us to do in the first place! So in a huge way, these things are not necessarily ours as in originating within us. Not at all.

So what do you think about things that please God Our Father? And what about adding “My” at the beginning? For me (and it’s okay if this is not for you), adding “My” at the beginning helps me to be accountable and helps me to create balance.

Here’s what I mean by balance. I can be quick to say “My prayer life is not what it should be” or “My generosity towards the less fortunate needs some work.” I claim the “Not-So-Pleasing-To-God Things” quickly, yet I tend to push away the “Pleasing-To-God” things even more quickly! I will say things like, “Oh, it was nothing” or “Well that’s what I’m supposed to do.”

Does that seem a little off-balance to you like it does to me? (Maybe you do that too? Hopefully I’m not the only one! Remember, a lot here is just me figuring things out, not necessarily saying “This is true for everyone. Do this.”)

For myself, I want to look at this more from a coaching perspective. In things like sports or mentoring programs, we can say, “My coach has really helped me work on my speed and focus, and I achieved my goals.” So I’m suggesting that we can say, “Jesus has really helped me work on my prayer life and my generosity and Our Heavenly Father is pleased!” (Or maybe that’s what everyone else is already doing, and I’m just figuring it out now? Oops!)

One of the big things Jesus coached people on was their faith. He often let people know whether their faith was pleasing to God or not, and He coached them when it was not.

…“Daughter, your faith has made you well…” Mark 5:34 (NASB)

…“I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” Luke 7:9 (NASB)

…“Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?”… Matthew 8:26 (NASB)

Yet we also know that our faith really comes from God.

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith… Hebrews 12:2a (NASB)

…God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Romans 12:3b (NASB)

So I look to Jesus as My Coach to help me with (1) My Praise and My Thanksgiving, (2) My Speaking The Gospel, and (3) My Walk, because I know He was pleasing in all of His ways and bore fruit in every good work, and He can show me how.

What if we imagined these things that please God were like Olympic events? How would that change our perspective? (Remember that “great cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews Chapter 12?) We can each say “My Coach is THE BEST!” Then we get to claim the trophy when all the time we know that we’d never be able to have that trophy with Our Coach! Isn’t that extravagantly loving of Him? When all the time we are just floundering without Him with our shoelaces untied!

Who knows, maybe Laura’s “Bible-y Stuff” will really help her to become a coach to Rob and others! Maybe she will even start a list titled “Things Jesus Is To Me” and start it with “(1) My Coach”!?! And what about those twins of hers?!? Hmm…

“Rob’s First Challenge (Laura, This Needs To Stop!)”

It was probably all of that talk about “The Hopelessly Lost” that gave Rob this idea. As you’ve seen, Laura tends to get carried away with her lists, and the part concerning “To Make Sure You Get Rid Of The Right Ones” is honestly a little scary, even in a cartoon. (We’ve already seen Laura go through a time warp and return, so there’s just no telling. Plus I’ve heard that their twins are working on a “Blast ‘Em Straight To Hell Machine” secretly in the basement!)

Rob has given Laura a challenge with the hope of redirecting her limitless listmaking energy more constructively! Next week, Laura will produce a real honest-to-goodness list based on things from the “Real Bible,” not the imaginary one she carries around in her head! Each item on the list will begin with “My” so that she is focusing on herself, not pointing her finger at others. In fact, there will only be three items on Laura’s list since, “Every time you point a finger, there are three fingers pointing back at you.”

So what do you think? “Things That Are Pleasing To God”…at least three items, each beginning with “My,” and backed up by verses from the Bible. we could be onto something here!

Maybe you’d like to give it a try as well? Now I’m not saying that next week’s posted list will be “THE” list, and I’m not challenging you to guess what is on next week’s list. (A list that you make based on your own prayerful study will almost always have more meaning to you than a list that I would give you.) This just seems like an interesting way of generating some ideas. So it’s real this time when the comic strip says “Why not start your own list today?!?” Let’s get started!

Any ideas can be shared here in “Comments/Thoughts” as long as your list doesn’t include something like “My Blast ‘Em Straight To Hell Machine”! (The twins have already claimed it, but that’s for another comic strip, another day!)

 

“Identifying The Hopelessly Lost (Laura, This Needs To Stop!)”


So what do you think? What do you picture in your mind when you hear “The Hopelessly Lost”? People with tattoos or motorcycles or unusual clothes and hair? They probably wouldn’t really be on very many lists. (But to be honest, I do see some of them still popping up unexpectedly in my own thoughts.) There just has to be someone though, right? Maybe a meth addict who is just a shadow of who they once were? Maybe a ragged homeless person with an empty gaze? Maybe a passed out alcoholic? Surely there have to be somebody who we could call one of “The Hopelessly Lost.”

Maybe we need to understand how we are using the word “Lost.” There is the “Amazing Grace” kind of “Lost” like a ship on the sea, not knowing where to go. There is the “Jesus Parables” kind of “Lost” like with something loved, wanted, and valued as in Luke Chapter 15. Nowhere is there a completely and bizarrely different “Lost” based on outward appearance the way that Laura is using this word. Nowhere is the situation described as “Hopeless.”

Yet how many people choose not to attend church because they will be judged by their outward appearance?

I have always thought of myself as just a very ordinary average looking guy in the crowd, yet I remember once visiting a large church where I was the only man there with a beard. No one even had a mustache! No facial hair at all. I had the white shirt, tie, and King James Bible, but I was not clean shaven. I felt really awkward, like all eyes were on me to say “You don’t belong here.” Yet nobody said a word to me. No greeting. Nothing. So I can begin to imagine what someone with a non-traditional or non-conservative appearance might be feeling before stepping through the door at some churches!

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NASB)

So only God can see what really matters, the heart. If we are to see the heart at all, I think it is only what He chooses to let us see, and then only those things that will move us with compassion and love, not criticism.

If you hesitate or avoid going to church because there might be some Tidy List Makers there, please remember this. It’s NOT their church. It belongs to Jesus. He paid for it with His own blood. (Acts 20:28) I really do believe He’s saying to you just like He said to me, “You just get yourself in there, and you sit anywhere in there that you want. Just don’t scare the kids.” (A white shirt and tie can be very scary when everyone else has on polo shirts, cargo shorts, and flip flops.)

What should we see when we look at that meth addict, that passed out alcoholic, that homeless ragged person? I believe we are to see the image of God Himself in all people, even in someone who might be mislabeled “The Hopelessly Lost.”

What if the farther we push ourselves away from anyone with a label like “The Hopelessly Lost,” the farther we push ourselves away from God?

“Taking Care Of All The Things That Jesus Missed”

So what do you think? Would you agree that there are some things that Jesus just never got around to doing? Like maybe when He was arrested and crucified, maybe that happened too soon, or maybe that wasn’t supposed to happen at all?

I have to say, this is sometimes confusing to me. (Although I am not agreeing with Laura who thinks Jesus was just not organized enough and would leave something done half-way!) The part that is confusing to me is that on one hand, the Gospels present Jesus as the Messiah, the King, the Son Of God, the Son Of Man. Yet on the other hand, the Gospels show Him steadily journeying onward to Jerusalem to be crucified, no matter what.

Here’s what I mean. We see people figuring out who He is, but then he tells them not to tell anyone! He talks about God’s Kingdom being among them, and then when they want to make Him king, He moves away and departs!

For me, there is a feeling of “This can go only one way” and “This can go either way” both at the same time. It is a careful balance between “He was born to reign” and “He was born to die.” It’s a lot like some other possible careful balances such as “Arminianism and Calvinism” or “salvation by works and salvation by faith” or “God is one and God is triune.”

Yet we know that Jesus said He accomplished all that He came to accomplish.

“I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.” John 17:4 (NASB)

Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:30 (NASB)

So I’m left wondering if perhaps we don’t sometimes act in ways that come across unintentionally as “finishing up the things that Jesus never got around to doing.”

While we may not be so bold as Laura who is practically saying, “I’d have to give Jesus a C+ in Messiah 101,” do we instead tend to blame others like “the lost” for what is still a very messy world? Do we ever act like the classic cartoon character El Kabong (QuickDraw McGraw)? (Wow! Thinking about a “Kabongin’ Frenzy” takes me back!)

What does a life look like that silently proclaims “Jesus glorified Our Father and did all that He was given to do”? I’m unsure if I have the answer to that question, even in part, but it’s an answer worth pursuing.

“The Beauty Of Dishpan Hands (B&W Version)”

So what do you think? This does sort of have that 1950’s television comedy feel, doesn’t it?

Somebody gets what they wanted but weren’t really expecting. Somebody doesn’t get what they wanted but learned a valuable lesson. The dishes get washed, and everyone lives happily ever after in their perfect B&W television world!

Maybe that’s why I put everything in black and white, just like those 1950’s television comedies!

Actually today is the start of a new month, and I wanted to do something different today and also take time to thank everyone who has followed along with me on this comic strip journey that is exploring my Christian faith in a visual way. I’m grateful for all of the “likes” and “follows” and “comments.” That may sound a little corny, just like a 1950’s Black and White comedy, but I’m okay with it if you are!

This website has come a long way in the past approximately 100 days and 100+ posts! (And a very special note of appreciation for those of you who followed over from the other blog that I had started last fall when I first began doing these comic strips!)

More important than anything, I believe I’ve grown a great deal in my relationship with Jesus as a result of these comic strips (some funny, some serious), and honestly hope that you have also!

THANK YOU, EVERYONE!