There once was a man with a great golden pitcher. He loved to use his pitcher to refresh the people all-around him. He poured day and night until one day he stopped. It wasn’t because he wanted to. Pouring gave his life purpose and meaning and it brought him great joy. He tried and tried to keep pouring, but to no avail. He simply could not pour anymore. The reason was simple…

His pitcher was empty.

I know the question that is creeping through your mind. “Why didn’t he just fill the pitcher?” It’s obvious, right? Then why don’t you do it? You see, if you’re like most creatives, especially Christian creatives, you want to help people and you live to be a blessing. We seem to thrive on creating and sharing those creations as well as helping and pouring into the lives of others. We’d do it all day every day if we could, but please don’t miss this because it is a principle that will serve you very well. You can’t pour what you don’t have. If you’re going to pour out, you also have to learn to let others, not to mention God, pour into you.

I know this pretty well. I’m right in the middle of a long period of much activity and I love it, but it comes with a price. My mind is racing all the time. This often keeps me from sleeping which makes me quite tired at times. Also my studio space is chaotic, because I am in “throw and go” mode. You know, that’s where you finish something, throw it to the side and start working on the next thing. As a result of that chaos, there are at least two things I intended to bring along for the conference where I am speaking, that are sitting home in my studio. I can do everything I need to do without them, but they would have been an asset to what I am doing. Finally, though most importantly, when I go to pray, my mind is so all over the place that even the Lord is not getting my full attention. That’s not going to work forever. I’m not empty right now. I still feel okay, but I’m definitely not full.

What to do? Well today I am going to let some people sow into me. I’m going to sit and listen to a few other speakers to see what I can glean from them. I’m going to enter into some unplanned, general conversations. I might even grab a nap in my room and I am going to spend some time with Jesus. I’m still going to seek to be a blessing, but I’m also going to attempt to fill my pitcher.

If I don’t, I can’t pour.

Some people say Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” A lot of people also say he never said that and I don’t know one way or the other, but whoever said it was on to something. The date of my birth was of course paramount for me, I wouldn’t be here without it. The day I found out why took a long time and actually probably came in stages, because of course there is more than one reason. Of course the day I said yes to Jesus was overlooked in the quote and yet, due to its eternal significance, should be the most important day, and it is.

As I look back over my life, I’ve had a few best days. April 23, the day I married my wife. March 31, the day my oldest son Brandon was born, November 13, the day my youngest son Chris was born and today, July 14. You see July 14 two years ago was the day this little man came into the world.

This is my grandson, David John. He is two years old today and he is my pride and joy. There have been days where I have lamented getting older, but in truth having a grandchild brings all that into perspective. I may be getting older, but I am also more blessed.

Yes, dear reader, this is one of my best days.

It may shock you to read this, but I always cringe when I hear that phrase. I know as someone in ministry, this should be my greatest goal and I guess it is, but for the most part I don’t think that’s what people mean when they say it. The thing is, the mind of Christ is really, really easy to find most of the time. The reason for that is simple. He published it. It’s the best selling book of all time and to know His mind, most of the time, one needs only to open it and start reading. Now I know some will want to take me to task here on the hard issues of the day and yes I know some of those are really difficult. Who told you it would be easy?

The reason I cringe though is because I have heard some people say things are “the mind of Christ” that cannot possibly be the mind of Christ because they stand in direct conflict with the Word of God. God and Christ are one and they are never in conflict. If you think you’ve found the “mind of Christ” but there is sin involved, you need to keep looking because you haven’t found it yet. People say God can do anything, but that is not completely true. God can’t fail and God can’t sin. Neither can Jesus.

I was at a church conference and people seemed to think that a favorable vote meant we had found the mind of Christ. Since when has a majority opinion always meant that God was behind something? It didn’t work at the foot of Mt. Sinai where Aaron was carving a golden calf while Moses was with God getting the commandments (but I already touched on that earlier). It didn’t work anywhere in the book of Judges. The people fell away as a group, cried out to God, got rescued, only to fall away again. As the old adage goes, “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

Sometimes I think “seeking the mind of Christ” is a reaction not unlike disobedient children who don’t like what they hear from father so they decide to ask someone else. We need to remember the church of Jesus Christ is not a democracy. Voting has no power when God is control. His vote is the vote that matters and that’s okay because He is completely loving and completely perfect. He will let us go our own way if we want to. He will probably even come to the rescue when it fails, and it will fail, but never call our will the mind of Christ, because He always submitted His will to the will of the Father. “Thy will be done” remember.

The mind of Christ is to always, every single time to do the will of the Father. We find that will not in getting our own way but in being a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2) submitting our will to the will of the Father.

Artist David Garibaldi gives us some really helpful reminders here.

Okay this didn’t really happen and for those of you who don’t know, Geddy is Geddy Lee, bass player, lead singer and keyboardist for my favorite rock band, Rush. Widely regarded as among the great rock musicians of all time, Geddy is my musical hero. This guy just oozes talent. He didn’t really come to my house, but in a dream I had last night, there was a knock at my door and there he was. I took him to my studio. I must have known he was coming because it was clean. I showed him some of the stuff I am working on as well as some other stuff. Then I started to take him around and introduce him to my family and friends, he was very gracious. Then finally things got a little out of hand and we were on the roof of this low building and people were mobbing him for autographs, Stuff like that happens in dreams. Amidst the chaos, I woke up and it got me to thinking.

If I ever met Geddy, if he ever came to my house, that is pretty much what I would do. I’d show him the stuff that was important to me and I’d introduce him to everyone I could. Some of you know where I am going with this…

I know Jesus and while Geddy is a musical genius, Jesus is the creator of the universe and Savior of all who will believe, yet it would be dishonest for me to say I have introduced him to everyone I know. It would be cool for my friends and family (not to mention me), the people I love to meet Geddy. It is essential that they meet Jesus. I guess I post this to ask you the same question. If your hero came to visit your house, who would you tell? Now, who have you introduced to Jesus?

I think we can all do better.

This week, I decided to just lay it all out there over at my cartoon site, CREACHER. Jesus is Greater… For more info, click the toons.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. In it Jenkins goes back and forth between a first century Jerusalem and modern day life to craft a pretty cohesive thriller. We start in a Roman prison. The Apostle Paul is in his last imprisonment before his impending death. Luke is going back and forth between helping him and treating victims of a great fire in Rome, a fire ostensibly started by the Emperor Nero but blamed on the Christians as a way to crush the movement. Paul is requesting his parchments, which contain his memoir, his life story. In modern day, seminary professor Augie Knox gets pulled into a case of intrigue trying to find that memoir, which was stolen during an archaeological dig.

The juxtaposition of chapters is part of what makes this a great story. There are two concurrent storylines that each keep those pages turning. The Pauline memoir is fleshed out scripture which while taking liberties to fill in the story do not seem to take away from the biblical narrative. If I had one complaint about this book, and it is a small one, I would have liked to see the final struggle in the modern day storyline expanded upon a bit more. The conclusion comes a little too easily, but again that is a small complaint, and over all I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Jenkins leaves the story a little open ended, leaving the possibility of a sequel on the table. That is a book I would love to read.