Archive for the ‘curiosity’ Category

Why is it so difficult for people to believe Jesus is real, is alive, deeply cares for them and wants to be active in helping them navigate life?

For many outside the religious zones, Christianity is seen as one among many and is totally confusing due to the misrepresentation they see in the inconsistent lives of so many church people. They would love to believe in something that makes sense.

We have the opportunity and responsibility to live lives among people in such a way that they leave our conversation with something that is stirring in their heart, that for some reason they think they might really be on to something. They long to view a person’s life that is so real that it screams “this is right.” If we want to erase the doubt and hesitation of others to believe the truth about Jesus, it is not difficult but it is costly. They want to know that this stuff we talk about works on Monday morning on the job and Saturday evening at the party.

When you look at 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17 along with 2 Corinthians 2:15, it is obvious that you and I need to be immersed in real life with people and realize that when they see us love when they would hate, encourage when they would just leave, stand when they would give in or get angry… When our questions point to what really matters and raises such a curiosity, they will want to hang with us as long as we can stay awake.

What keeps you hiding who you really are? Why not begin to be real with a few people this week and see what happens?

Everything we do must have a point. If there is no point, life is emptied of its exhilaration. That rush of anticipation of what might come next is thrown away and life becomes a cheap imitation. This is lived out every day in every country, in every city and on every street. It has pervaded our lives and is beyond measure.

Paul addressed this masterful deception our enemy has saturated our cultures with and nowhere is it more widespread than in the American culture. In 2 Corinthians 10:12 the gauntlet is thrown down by Paul. Paul is issuing a challenge to each one of us every day. This is a  “dog eat dog” world now, as it was then. The world doesn’t fight fair. We also try everything to fit in by comparing, grading and competing. We have targeted audiences that we must be accepted into regardless of what compromise we must make or injury we might cause someone else.

As followers of Jesus we have been trusted by God to let the world see that Jesus isn’t a word of explanation used by people at athletic events or when we just feel we have been hammered by someone. Jesus stood out in His culture and when we try to fit in, the people we have the opportunity to influence have just been robbed from seeing the real Jesus.

People are really looking for someone to be real and take a genuine interest in them. Ask God to show you how to live in such a way that people will be curious and ask you why you’re not like their other friends.

RECOGNIZE!

RECOGNIZE! (Photo credit: afagen)

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were at the Village at Meridian in Meridian, Idaho. We were sitting outside watching people and the amazing fountains there. Oh, we were also having a Starbucks coffee. Everything was normal, then a person came up to ask where we got the Starbucks. There is not Starbucks at the Village so we told them we picked it up on the way. Before not too much time went by 4 other people asked us the same question. I turned to my wife and said “they recognize the Starbucks cups.”

Then I wondered if people recognize Jesus in our everyday lives like they recognize these cups. According to 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 when Jesus is in our lives as the boss, people are going to see the difference He makes. Take the Word on the Street here: “…we walk into a room and people’s heads turn: they get a sense of something different…” They disagree about the implications but they agree that this is different.

In Acts 4:13 we get a strong clue as to why people notice difference. Peter and John had been with Jesus and the religious guys knew it. When you and I are developing a close friendship with Jesus, people can’t help but see that something’s different about us. Maybe it’s how we show interest in them when others don’t or a question we asked that got them thinking about stuff they had never thought about before.

Jesus in our life should be more recognizable than a coffee cup from Starbucks is to people. How can you arouse the curiosity in someone’s life this week? Is there some way you could serve someone this week and they might associate it with your knowing Jesus?

Big Questions

Big Questions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the guys who was intrigued by Jesus was Nicodemus (I’m sure we would call him Nick today). Jesus has just said some shocking stuff that might have caused Nick to wonder if Jesus had been smoking something. So, he asked Jesus a question that people everywhere ask every day when they meet someone’s who’s intimately tracking with Jesus. His question is phrased differently in various ways but goes like this: “how can this be?'” or “What do you mean by this?” or “How on earth can things like this happen?” Jesus had just said that to see God’s world you have to experience a new birth. The first 10 verses of John 3 introduce us to God’s story.

When God begins to direct and change our life, our focus is so radically different that even our best friends will find it a little freaky to listen to us. The world stresses things that make sense to them:about being ambitious, or getting even with people who  hurt us in some way or many other things that seem logical. But when Colossians 3:1-10 becomes our chosen lifestyle, our life doesn’t make sense to them.

Because the world is focused on safety and security, our living by the Spirit which invalidates the predictable and logical, causes them to ask questions like Nick did on that day he talked with Jesus.

Having spent 37 years either living in or driving through Wyoming I can tell you that the wind there is impossible to understand or describe to someone from just about any other state. I mean, who measures wind speed with a chain? In the same sense, when we listen to God, those around us will wonder, and we can’t completely describe our life to their satisfaction. Maybe they will be curious enough to ask us about it.

Is your life predictable? Are your decisions understandable by those not following Jesus? A most exciting life awaits us as we allow God to whisper to us “follow me…”

Success

Success (Photo credit: aloshbennett)

I imagine you have said it yourself or your kids have said it one too many times. You are only 30 minutes in the trip that is going to take several hours and you or they ask “are we there yet?” Our questions and thinking always reflect what we believe is important or how we are putting the pieces of the puzzle in the right places.

A church (which is made up of a bunch of people) is successful not when you can’t find a seat, or the new building is now completed or the number of programs has exceeded the number of days in a typical month. The criteria for evaluating success should not be how many but rather what kind. Are people learning how to be real (honest) with each other, involved in consistently sharing life together, and is their life arousing curiosity from those who intersect their life?

People all over the world are looking for people who will be up front with them, genuinely care about spending time with them and who are figuring out how to eliminate the attractive and myriad distractions that choke the life out of them.

The Thessalonians were impacting people all over the place. They had become the daily headlines in the newspapers. If it were today, word of their changed lives would have gone viral on the internet. Twitter wouldn’t have had enough room to list all of the tweets about how they were focused on what really mattered. Check out 1 Thessalonians 1:7-10 and 2 Thessalonians 1:3.

Get some coffee or a beer with someone this week and talk about this.

Perfect match

Perfect match (Photo credit: emme-dk)

The guy on the street, the clerk in the store, the lawyer rushing off to build a winning case and everyone else in any profession is looking to make sense out of life. There are so many traps, dead ends and detours that most throw up their hands and forget the search and live a life that blends in with everyone else. They know there must be an answer to the ongoing riddle of what life is about. They have seen religious zealots carrying a Bible and shouting stuff that makes no sense as well as good intentional people do something on Sunday morning that really does not connect with their deepest needs.

But then one day they meet a guy or gal in a coffee shop or a bar who strikes up a conversation that makes more sense and they are curious. Over the next few weeks their curiosity goes to the next level as they hang out with this person over meals, on the golf course, and hiking in the mountains. They discover that this person’s belief and lifestyle are a perfect match. They are more than curious, they want what they see.

Our life either crosses out what we say or it underscores what we actually believe. It’s our choice but our neighbor, our co-worker, the guy in the bar or the waitress are all waiting to see if this stuff actually makes sense.

More match making thoughts can be found in: Ecclesiastes 3:11; Daniel 6:4 and 1 Corinthians 15:34.