Monday, October 12, 2015

Salvation Explained by the Brisket Analogy......No, I'm Not Kidding!

So, I'm sitting her at the computer again relishing our 8th place overall finish at Porktoberque 2015.  We got a respectable 4th in chicken and 7th in pork.  This was our first top-10 finish.  Not bad if I do say so myself......which I will.  I also attended Cook's Church for the first time.  Bobby Lankford of Haulin' Butt BBQ did a great job of sharing a short story about how we can be someone's angel.  Since then, I've had this idea stuck in my head, and as many of you know, once something gets in there it has to come out.  Unfortunately, some of my ideas should have stayed put but instead chose to go wandering around with mixed results.  This one though is...........different.  Not that the title of this blog didn't lend some support to that idea.  In the Bible, specifically Matthew 28:18-20 "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing then in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (NIV)'"  Now I don't pretend to be the best Bible scholar in the world, but I do recognize this as a command and not a mere suggestion.  In fact, it's called the Great Commission.  Whether we are BBQ competitors, port-a-potty cleaners (what is my fixation with port-a-potty's), or some anonymous person running into another, we are pretty much commanded to make disciples.  Granted, Jesus was referring to his disciples, but in the long run, aren't we all to be disciples of Christ?  I think 'yes' is the appropriate response here folks.  So, sit back, put on your thinking caps, open you minds, and let's see where this goes:  If you think about it, those without salvation are kind of like a cryovac, bagged prime brisket,  You get the bag open (kind of like our hearts and minds to the word and works of God) and there you have a hunk of meat, covered in grey meat stuff on the side, pockets of hard, undesirable fat, floppy and generally unappealing parts.  But God doesn't see all the problems, ugly parts, or generally nastiness.  Instead, God sees us in our perfect form just as He made us.  Just like we see not just the ugly stuff but what potential the brisket has to offer with just a little work.  With me so far?  Good.  Next, we make a decision to accept the free gift of Salvation and God goes to work.  Just like with a brisket, God gets out the knife and goes to removing all the ugliness of sin from us.  He opens our heats and minds to our own sin and takes it away from us.  Just like trimming a brisket, God removes all the ugly bits.  Granted, the cutting sometimes hurts, but when God is done, we are shaped by His hand into a far better shape than when we started out.  Salvation isn't about what you give up but should be focused more on what we gain.....eternity in Heaven with God.  That rocks far better than anything here on Earth.  Next, we inject our briskets with something that enhances the flavor.  In short, it makes the brisket a bit better than by itself alone.  We us, we get injected with the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit guides us and helps to make us 'a bit better.'  When Jesus ascended to Heaven, he said he was leaving behind a helper and that helper is the Holy Spirit.  After a good injection, we cover the brisket in a flavorful rub.  This rub is made up of a lot of different spices and seasonings.  A good rub gives the brisket that lip smacking goodness.  Some rubs are as simple as salt and pepper while others have about 384 parts to them.  With Christians, we are covered in something very simple:  the blood of the Lamb.  Jesus died on the cross for YOU!!!  Yes, you despite all of your sins known and unknown.  Whether you believe or not, near or far, He died for each and every one of us.  If we were without sin, we wouldn't need Jesus to die a slow and painful death on the cross.  Right?  So far so good?  Next, the BBQ Pitmaster applies some smoke and heat.  Through this process, a very real and physical change occurs to the brisket.  The rub cooks to a flavorful crust, the injection moisturizes the meat, the heat and smoke tenderize and cook this beautiful brisket to a wonderful, delicious finale.  In our own lives, we have our own smoke and heat.  Maybe we hit a wall, we lose someone we love, we lose our job, family, or our health.  Through it all, we realize we can't make it on our own.  We have to rely on a strength that knows no ends, the strength of God Himself.  The Creator of all things in the universe, and here is little ol' me.  Imagine the size of one individual versus the size of the whole universe and yet we matter to God in an individual and personal way.  Suddenly, we become very insignificant, but not in God's eyes.  Go to a big competition, and there are maybe 180 teams.  That's 180 teams cooking briskets, unique in their own ways......just like we are in God's eyes.  In the end, we submit our briskets to some random judges in hopes they like and accept it.  It's funny to me how we will work to such an attention to detail and submit something to a group of strangers, but how many of us don't share the joy of salvation with those we love?  In the end, we submit ourselves to God where He judges us not on our deeds but whether or not we are known to Him.  Those with salvation do far better than a 180 or 200 score.  We have redemption.  Like the bumper sticker I saw as a kid, "Jesus paid a debt He didn't owe because I owed a debt I couldn't pay."  Not bad if you ask me.  There you go folks.  Leave it to me to tie it back to BBQ.  If you don't know the gift of salvation, I urge you to seek it.  Call or message me if you have questions.  I may not have all the answers, but I've got the right One.  Y'all take care.  Riley says, "Hey, when you were Baptizing Jeff, why did you let him up?"  Y'all take care.

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