ANY SPIRITUALITY YOU CHOOSE HAS TO HAVE LOVE AT THE CORE.
In that respect, Jesus is really no different than most of the world’s religions available to you today. All say love is central to your soul.
But what makes Jesus unique is how he loved and how he makes that love available to you and I.
In his encounter with the disciples in John ch. 13 & 14, he revealed that God is our servant (!). He washes our feet (i.e. our souls) clean. He does this amidst knowing the betrayal/denial/abandonment/disbelief coming his way at the hands of his own disciples. He is concerned about their loving one another when they should be the ones comforting him as he prepares to go to the cross. He promises he will send to them the Holy Spirit, who will make his truths and their love for one another and for him possible.
Think about that. In this one encounter in John 13 & 14, we see the human heart clearly apart from Jesus. We are prone to selfishness (the disciples didn’t offer to wash Jesus’ feet). We need his direct spiritual help (the indwelling Holy Spirit) to love one another the way God wants. We side with the disciple’s experience of betraying/denying/abandoning/disbelieving Jesus, sometimes at a moments notice.
And yet Jesus, knowing all of this in advance, reveals that God is merciful and patient and loving for those who believe. But sometimes people don’t want Jesus to wash their feet (i.e. souls). Maybe letting Jesus wash your soul carries with it the fear that becoming his servant means you’ll be serving others who are dirty.
For those of us to do chose Jesus, if you want to be more like Jesus the road to becoming more loving isn’t after we’ve gotten the things we want from God. What if we were to see servanthood in the midst of the self-centeredness of the human heart (ours and others) as the way to be more like him? What if we were to embrace/celebrate loving God/others when they are less than…what we expect? What if this was God’s way of making us more like the person He envisioned us to be? What if that was the true way of Jesus?
Would it be worth it?
JESUS IS THE START OF YOUR REINVENTION.
> You’re serious about living a life where God is at the center, then Jesus is your starting point.
> You realize that your character is broken in darkness, then Jesus is your starting point.
> You are untrusting of fake religion, then Jesus is your starting point.
> You are left empty at the pleasures of the world, then Jesus is your starting point.
> You believe that right relationships – not fame/money/power – defines spirituality, then Jesus is your starting point.
> You realize the danger of defining your spirituality on your own, then Jesus is your starting point.
^ Jesus is the central figure of the New Testament and ultimately the Old Testament. [Jn. 5:39]
^ Jesus said he is God. [Jn. 10:30]
^ Jesus said he is our savior. [Jn. 3:16]
^ The apostle Paul said Jesus is the true representation of God. [Col. 2:9]
^ The apostle Peter said Jesus is the only one by which we can be saved. [Acts 4:12]
^ The apostle John said sharing about Jesus was the source of his joy. [1 Jn. 1:4]
^ The apostle Jude said he was the servant of Jesus. [Jude 1]
^ The writer of Hebrews said God has spoken through Jesus, the heir of all things. [Heb. 1:2]
^ The apostles told the churches “Follow me as I follow Christ” and “Follow Jesus”. [1 Cor. 11:1; 1 Pt. 2:21]
+ Churches today call themselves “Christians”, meaning, “followers of Jesus Christ”.
+ Most of an unbelieving world concedes that Jesus Christ has had more impact on more people than any other person to walk the earth in human history.
= Journey with us as we explore 15 central teachings of Jesus on Sundays @ 4 PM + here on this blog. Starting over with Jesus is where the most important thing in life gets reinvented: you.
WE LIVE IN A CULTURE OF REINVENTION.
We love watching people trying to erase their past in hopes of constructing a brand new identity. We watch The Bachelor (new love), Extreme Makeover (new look/lifestyle), The Voice (new dream), Breaking Bad (new career, sans rules), Shark Tank (new wealth). We carefully curate a more idealized persona on social media. We switch careers/lovers/looks/friends/churches on a whim. Each time we do, it’s an opportunity to for us to reinvent ourselves.
The idea of reinventing yourself is powerful and attractive. It’s exciting. There’s a sense of movement to our lives when we think of not being bound to the past anymore and having the promise of starting over.
Jesus came so you could start over. His life, death and resurrection is God’s way of making possible the reinvention of the human soul. Not through ourselves, but through Him. The Apostle Paul said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come?” [2 Cor. 5:17]. Today with so many possibilities to reinvent ourselves in so many key areas of our lives, why do we need Jesus anymore? He didn’t promise us a new look or career or bank account.
Perhaps it’s because the reinvention of your soul is the single most important area of your life that needs to start over. Your soul controls your thoughts, your motivations, your actions – it is the source of your life, both here and in eternity. Jesus’ reinvents us through his life coming into our life. Not through a program to make us into a new person, but through the Holy Spirit living through us to make us right and new before God.
“START OVER” ARE THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT WORDS GOD WANTS YOU TO HEAR.
Not everyone believes that.
For those of us who do, we’ve seen the effects of our own sin darken our souls and wreck relationships. We have endured evil thrust upon us by circumstances beyond our control. We are concerned about what we see happening in culture, and for that matter the future of our country and world. We have come to the point where we have lost hope in the voices around us (or within us) that say, “You’re fine.”
The reality is that God’s words “start over” aren’t for those who define their lives by the words “I’m fine.” Jesus Christ did not come to us in human flesh, die on a cross and then rise from the dead for those who feel they’re fine on their own with how things are and where things are headed.
Starting over is also a much better two-word alternative to “I’m stuck”. Sometimes it’s not about fighting harder in the same direction. It’s about being willing to go back to the beginning. The bible says,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” [2 Corinthians 5:17]
YOU ARE INVITED TO START OVER WITH GOD AND WITH OTHERS. On Sunday, March 20th and 27th we all start over. Come join us for the launch of a new community called “the church” and hear God’s two most important words to you.
RE: MAKING DISCIPLES, ARE WE SUCCESSFULLY MISSING?
There are many, many things that Christians can succeed at:
> We can succeed at becoming good servants of other people in church.
> We can succeed at helping the poor through short-term missions trips abroad.
> We can succeed at studying the bible and quoting smart theologians.
> We can succeed at living holy lives.
> We can succeed at bringing the best dish to the Sun. potluck.
> We can succeed at raising happy children.
> We can succeed at voicing our concerns over the political and moral future of America.
> We can succeed at finding new friends at church to fellowship with.
> We can succeed at becoming a more prayerful people.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
But are we succeeding at making disciples? With the people right in front of us in the place where we live? Or are we succeeding in the other areas of the faith while missing our main mission? How many of us know people that would name us as the person who brought them to Jesus Christ and was pivotal in them becoming a disciple?
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [Matt. 28:19,20]