Gal 5:1-6 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
My last post talked about having a beer with Jesus. Again I have no doubt he would sit and sip a draw and talk Dallas Stars with me. I know this to be true because He did so last Monday night. I’m sure a lot of you wonder what He looked like and what He was wearing. On this particular night he ranged from 6-3 to 5-7, 250 to175 pounds; dark brown, red, “dirty blonde,” and grey hair with a shaved head; with and without glasses, wearing jeans, shorts, tee-shirts, flip-flops, sneakers, and boots; and that night, a caucasoid with a variety of facial hair patterns. Something I never knew about him though, is he apparently likes a good cigar. Besides Dr. Gene Scott – whooda thunk it?
On this occasion I was honored to be a part of a gathering of some “salt of the earth” gentlemen at a local tavern. Their recurring event is called Stogies and Stories which is an “element group” from a small church in Bedford , Texas called Fusion-Church. These guys, including the pastor and worship leader, meet to smoke cigars and have a couple of drinks while discussing all things life. It was so refreshing to see Jesus lifted up in a smoke-filled bar; one I was helping fill with said smoke. Look, I don’t smoke, normally. However I couldn’t resist the “temptation” to fire up a stogie and have some friendly fellowship with my salty cigar smokin’ sojourners. I got some great advice from the tobacconist at the cigar shop next door to the tavern, and I was quite pleased with the one I acquired. I will confess I felt really strange buying a lighter, but once the log was lit and our conversation with the King began in earnest, I settled right into the whole scene.
We ordered adult beverages and drank them responsibly. I had one beer – a Miller High Life. It seemed appropriate for the experience and setting. One of the guys had nachos – an order large enough to feed the 5,000. Some others had “crown royal” which I also thought to be quite appropriate. We talked about reaching the lost. We talked about loving people. We talked about spiritual abuse. We talked about an agnostic Christian of all things. We talked about the Dallas Cowboys, Stars, and Mavs. We talked about marriage, divorce, pastoring, teaching, evangelizing, praise and worship, song writing, business partners and cigars. I could sense no topic was off-limits. Then we talked about Him – the 800 pound gorilla in the room named Jesus.
What a specimen! He took over the place like a bowl of salsa at a party – everyone gravitated to Him to get a taste – double-dipping allowed. Yes, even encouraged. We talked about the different ways He manifests. We talked about God doing a new thing in a new generation and how the 20th century model probably won’t look like the 21st century move of God. I’m hopeful it won’t, but He’s God and can do what He wants. We talked about my heartburn with the templates of church and the dead agendas. They let me vent about current crises in my life, and boast of building blocks of the past.
I told them how my wonderful mom with a Nazarene background had not liked a line in I wrote about my believing “Jesus would sit and have a brew with me,” and how I referred to him as my “Suds Sucking Savior.” Disrespectful and dishonoring she thinks, and He too pure to drink alcohol. I have another friend who believes one cannot receive the Holy Spirit if consuming alcohol because of Gabriel’s instructions to Zechariah regarding John the Baptist. I’m pretty sure Jesus had the Holy Spirit and a responsible division of the Word of Truth reveals He drank fermented drink. I am an enigma to my buddy because he knows I am full of the Holy Spirit, and beer, and wine, and margaritas. I hope that his freedom in Christ expands to – well – more freedom in Christ.
I also lamented to them about my experience with religion and denominations that color way inside the lines of the picture of our Savior, who by the way, lived so far outside the lines it offended the laws of nature. I’m so over religion and so in love with Jesus – the Jesus many people refuse to embrace because they traded him for a lower round draft choice. My wife says she is tired of trading one set of chains for another. I love that woman; she could preach. For those of you concerned about those view, please take comfort in the knowledge that the One who began a good work in me WILL carry it on to completion. He’s bigger than your need for others to follow your limited view of Him, and bigger than my need to follow a limitless one.
So onto the debate that leads me to ask this question for today – “What Would Jesus Drink?” I would love to have your responses to that question, whether you think Iced Tea or Tequila, and please tell me why you think He would drink what you are suggesting. And the next time you step into a smoke filled bar, look around and see if there are some strange guys smoking cigars, and laughing or crying in their beer. And remember, that smoke may just be the Glory of the Lord in that place, which can smell offensive to some.
Isa 6:3-4 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
So..what would Jesus drink?