by Rich Dixon on August 31, 2015


A weekend message brings us today’s word-of-the-week…


MondayThat’s Not What I Expected

Interesting sermon title, huh? The pastor used an incident from David’s life to illustrate how life with God frequently takes unexpected turns.

Good point. If you’re anything like me, you can look back and see lots of things that turned out a good deal differently than you figured they would. Many turned out much better than we could have imagined. Some were just different, maybe something we wouldn’t have thought of. And some, well, some were pretty tough.

The title of the sermon got me thinking about Jesus. Once in a while I get the chance to explain Jesus to someone–not the political Jesus or the do’s and don’t’s Jesus or the prosperity Jesus or any of the other versions of Jesus people make up, but the just the basics Jesus. And when you tell someone His message is as simple as “Believe in me and you’re forgiven” the response is nearly always something like:

That’s Not What I Expected

If you think about it, Jesus was a surprise from the beginning. The religious folks of His day anticipated a Messiah, but what they got wasn’t at all what they expected.

He’s still surprising us.

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Where Did They (We) Go Wrong?

by Rich Dixon on August 27, 2015

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. (Matthew 22:15)

It’s not an isolated incident. Religious leaders were always seeking opportunities to twist Jesus’ words, catch Him breaking a rule–anything to discredit Him and diminish His increasing influence among the people. We’ve read the stories so often, maybe we take them for granted.

The religious leaders are the bad guys, right? Except, they’re not. Not really. The Pharisees were folks who tried really hard to get it right, but somewhere along the way they got lost.

Ever wonder what might have happened if they approached Jesus differently?

three four

What would have happened if they assumed the best rather than the worst?

What if they started from a place of trust instead of suspicion? What if they assumed He meant well instead of harm? What if they assumed He had everyone’s best interest at heart?

What would have happened if they asked before they judged or condemned?

What if they assumed they didn’t know the whole story? What if they genuinely desired to understand before deciding?

# # #

You and I can’t change the interactions between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day. But every day I (and I’ll bet you) encounter situations, discussions, teachings, and decisions that don’t make sense. It’s so tempting to jump to a conclusion, judgement, condemnation based on my perspective.

What if I always assumed best intentions?

What if I make sure I understand before I decide?

What if I always lead with love and grace?

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HAPPY MONDAY! A favorite quote inspires today’s word-of-the-week… MENU “It’s always easier to order off the menu.” ~ Seth Godin Let someone else decide what choices are available–and acceptable–and choose from their list. Much less risk. Just sit in the chairs somebody else already set up. Jesus advised us to toss out man-made menus. He said […]

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It’s awfully easy to say, “You’re wrong. You’re an idiot. You’re a loser.” Not all that useful, though. Shouting at the guy on the other side (who thinks you’re wrong) isn’t likely to close the gap. If your only goal is to sound cool to your own team by belittling the losers on the other […]

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Whose Truth Is It?

I believe in absolute truth. I also know humans view truth through the imperfect lens of their own experience. As the picture indicates, it’s impossible to consider truth independent of the perspective of the observer. Truth is a cylinder. From my perspective, it’s a circle. You’re certain it’s a square. I’ve observed that people of good will […]

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HAPPY MONDAY! An acronym creates today’s word-of-the-week TED A few weeks ago I was invited to give a TED talk. TED organizes events with the tagline “Ideas Worth Spreading.” I had a great time preparing and giving my talk, and it was a blast being involved in the conference. I hope you find this inspirational. I hope […]

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A Mile In Their Shoes

“Before you abuse, criticize, and accuse…walk a mile in my shoes.” That’s the advice of a ’70s pop song. Pretty basic–before we judge, it’s a good idea to find out how the other person sees things. A few days ago Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley was booed for saying, “All lives matter.” Why would anyone object […]

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HAPPY MONDAY! A cool new product inspired today’s word-of-the-week… SLOW Ever heard of a “slow watch“? It’s a real thing. Basically it’s a 24-hour watch with a single hand. The idea is that we don’t need to know the time down to the minute and second. So if we wear a watch that doesn’t measure life in […]

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