Archive for October, 2015

There are times when our faith seems incredibly naive as life crashes into our routine. I mean, if we don’t get out of this quick we might be hanging out at the bar too long…but then who really cares about how long we’re here?

We did a Bible study and memorized 25 verses on faith but when the train wreck happens, what do you do with all that stuff? You’ve spent the last 2 hours listening to every worship song you possibly could and when you’ve tried to talk to a couple of friends about it, they just smile and tell you it will work out as they look for the nearest exit.

2 Corinthians 1:8 & 9 are a 1st century picture of an early collision of life and faith. Paul and the gang were ready to give up on the “Jesus message.” In fact it looked like death was the next chapter and maybe that was ok.

But, how the hell do we get his perspective? “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” Really? There are some verses you wish you could cut out with a knife but then…you’re really glad they are there.

It’s the hardest thing to believe God really gets it and means it when you’re going through it but…he not only gets it, he lived it and is ready to pour the comfort and encouragement on us.

WHAT THIS MEANS: It’s tough but don’t give into the easy life of bitterness, emptiness and loneliness. God will prove his promises to us and he really cares. We can choose this perspective. At some point you have to really know this stuff is real!

When my wife and I moved into Windsor, Colorado we moved into a subdivision with front porches. We were excited to see all of the homes with these porches but sadly almost all of the people never really used them. We used ours and waved or spoke to neighbors passing by and regularly walked through our neighborhood but hardly ever was anyone on their porch.

I knew where they were…on their deck in  back surrounded by a fence to keep people from seeing them at all if possible. They were cloaked, although there.

Although Jesus took off on trips alone at times, he preferred the busy intersections of life where he could clearly reveal who he was and interface with as many people as possible. Mark 2:15-17 shows who Jesus preferred to make dinner reservations with.

Or, in The Word on the Street in Luke 19:10 Jesus says “…I’m here to track down the missing persons and reintroduce them to life.”

WHAT THIS MEANS: Where could you have a meal where the rough crowd hangs out? Why not make that place your regular stop rather than the private booth where no one can see you? How focused are you and I on those “missing persons” Jesus regularly “high fived ?”

After I had 3 stents put into an artery, the doctor was clear. “If you don’t want to do this again, eat differently and exercise more.” And after the nutritionist detailed what that meant, I thought it might be better to meet Jesus now rather than later.

If we want God to put on our heart what is on his, it always involves a change that is usually as challenging as entering an “Iron Man” event. Don’t you wake up every morning fired up about going through a 26 mile run to get you prepared for the day? Some people actually do.

Philippians 3:12-14 and Hebrews 12:1 are some of our teachers. Paul’s “one thing I do” in Philippians pulls us forward and always changes our perspective and lifestyle. And “pressing on…” indicates there’s resistance to these required changes. The Hebrews challenge shows us how entrenched we have become to our secular culture. When God says to us “you don’t need that stuff,” we realize how off track we are.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Jesus takes seriously what he means when he says “follow me.” Do you and I really want to follow him? Revel in the change because it is always God’s best for us.

I know you have watched an old landmark come crashing down within minutes because dynamite was used to bring it down. No one suggested to take it down brick by brick or floor by floor. Explosives were accurately placed to bring the building down quickly.

We can easily get entrenched in a way of doing things that “must be the best,” only to have God interfere with our design and change everything. Tweaking is OK we think but to blow it up?

I remember working with a Fine Arts guy named John and an Engineering student at about the same time. If John was going to get what I was sharing, it became clear I would have to speak into an ear I didn’t know existed. Or even now, in trying to develop a relationship with an autistic man where I live, I have realized my “strategy” for discipling men is going to have to change for him.

I love Isaiah 55:8 & 9…sometimes! “…My methods aren’t in any of your manuals,” it says in The Word on the Street. Don’t you love that or does it scare you a little?

God knows what he wants in every life but getting there will look different at times.

WHAT THIS MEANS: Don’t get proud or locked into a church or discipleship plan you think is the “right” way to do it. When God opens our eyes to doing it another way, we learn more than we could imagine-about us and God.

I don’t fish very often but when I do and the fish is eating size (and I don’t ask the fish to let me know), I will take it home and on the grill it goes. I have many friends who almost always let their fish go. But if I suggest we go to Bubba Gumps for some fish they would jump at it. “Catch and Release” is the term “serious” fishermen use.

How does this relate to making disciples? Well, we love the people God brings into our lives to help them begin to follow Jesus. We spend many hours together-praying, working, studying, playing, enjoying life. But there comes a time when if we hold on to them too tight we actually are diminishing their impact with other people.

We have to apply the principle of “catch and release” with them. Jesus did this. John 17:4,6,18 and 20 provides a glimpse of his strategy and heart. Think about these thoughts from The Word on the Street: v4 “I’ve done you credit by fulfilling my part of the arrangement down here.” v6 “The squad you gave me, I’ve shown them what you’re like…you trusted me with them and they’ve lived life your way…” v18 “You sent me on a mission, I’ve done the same to them: sent them on a mission.” and v20 “But not just them! All the thousands that’ll opt back into your way…”

Jesus loved them so much that he released them.

WHAT THIS MEANS: We must make sure that those we help to follow Jesus really get it and it’s in their heart not just their head. Their conviction is to make disciples who make disciples. 2 Timothy 2:2 is tattooed somewhere on them. And we tell them we will call, text or e-mail them as they drive off to wherever.