Archive for January, 2013

Double Trouble

Posted: January 30, 2013 in Authentic, Church

The challenge was clear-Jesus gave us homework that would radically alter life for everyone. But somewhere along the way we turn in our homework and we get a grade that reveals that something is very wrong. We are confused because we have given it our best shot. We redouble our effort but the same grade comes back on our assignment. From our perspective, we should have passed with flying colors. We have all of the manuals and books in our libraries on how to do it…but still, something is wrong.

Jeremiah 2:13 reveals two disturbing aspects of doing life, church or whatever. It’s the beginning of a pattern that is easily repeated. Once it is modeled it becomes difficult to understand what to do about it. These people left the life giving spring in the spa and tried to find water somewhere else. It did not work then nor does it today. Digging a deeper hole does not help if the hole is in the wrong place.

When you come to a place as David speaks about in Psalm 63:1 “…earnestly I seek you, my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you…”, you are expressing what few ever realize or express. “There has to be something more to the Christian life than what I have been experiencing.” What does leaving my “life source” mean, and how have I tried to make up for it?

You sleepily pick up your phone and the recognizable voice says “get your stuff, we’re leaving in 15 minutes.” Stunned, you ask “where are we going?’ The reply does not give you the assurance you were hoping for. “Come and you will see.” Take a peek at John 1:35-39.

Disciple making can become routine to a point it begins to be boring and without the anticipation of adventure or excitement. If we follow the rules, do the assignments, don’t miss the meetings we surely become a follower of Jesus. Right? Jesus has an uncanny way of helping people unlearn the clutter that often makes traveling the discipleship road as tasteful as eating a dead rat. Without a sweet notebook, I Pad or  dynamite blogs, Jesus was able to equip followers with everything they would need to pass it on to other travelers. John 17:4,6,20.

In our helping people become real followers of Jesus, we often should take people somewhere where neither of us has been. Don’t think of a cool location to read the Bible with them but maybe a way of thinking that stretches them. It may be a short term mission trip in Argentina or in the older part of your city. But if we are following Jesus, our disciple making will definitely keep people awake.

Check out some of the ways Jesus got and kept the attention of the early disciples in the use of water and whips in John 2. What a teaching technique.

How are you really participating in Matthew 28:18-20? Is it an adventure or another trip to Walmart?

There is a TV showHouse Hunters International.” We usually tape it because we like the various countries in which they preview houses that a real estate agent might never take you to. I remember a country and one town in that country I actually spent about 7 weeks in that would not be on that show. Along with 7 others, we stayed in a hotel that would have been condemned in the states. Albania in 1992 was the country and we stayed where everyone else lived in that town. There were no gated communities to check out. The guy at the door of this hotel told us one day he could blow up that hotel anytime he wanted to with the dynamite he had. Oh, did I mention Turkish toilets shared by men and women, water only 2 times a day from a sink for 2 hours, no showers, no hot water in the town…you might be getting the picture.

We had to live there because it was in the middle of where everyone lived. We were there to build a road to a maternity hospital and share JesusLiving close to those you want to influence is critical. You must move into their neighborhood. Think with me about Mark 14:3-5. Jesus was comfortable having dinner with a guy who would not be on the invitation list of the mayor. Sounds like he may be marginal at best but it was where Jesus was hanging out that night. Where else would Jesus meet him except in his neighborhood? This is church at its best.

This guy was open to listen to Jesus because the meal was on his own turf. This may have been the best evidence to him that Jesus really cared about him.

Do you find it easier to occasionally drop into a “bad” part of town or does it ever cross your mind to move into that neighborhood? It depends if you want to really connect with the people there.

Everyone enjoys eating out. No preparation in the kitchen, no agonizing over cooking the fish just right and of course no cleanup required. Jesus enjoyed eating out-in fact he did this almost every day. But one day he surprised his men and caused the religious types to show their real character.

Check out Matthew 9:9-12. Jesus had an important thing for his men to learn here. He knew those with unfounded religious rules would have a fit but then, that was part of his plan. The religious club needed to remove some things from their priority list. We must learn to engage our culture without compromise. Engaging means association with but does not mean shallow conversations. We should ask meaningful questions to help people think through their conclusions about life. And, we need to really listen to people even when we absolutely disagree with them.

1 Corinthians 9:22 in the Living version says in part “…trying to find common ground with non-Christians so as to tell them about Jesus and let Jesus save them.” 2 Corinthians 10:2-5 adds a dimension that is often overlooked.

Extra credit: John 2:1-11. We need to help people when we can. People have a lot of water but maybe not much wine. It is easy to live rather plain lives void of adventure. We may be able to help people with that. Also, 1 John 2:15,16 should help us not cross boundaries that would diminish our effectiveness with our culture. We do not have the right to do what we want to do, be who we want to be or have what we want to have if we are following Jesus.

Where are you having dinner tonight? How do you need to work on the compromising aspect?