Posts Tagged ‘Jesus followers’
It’s excerpt friday, and without further adieu…
I think Christianity should come with a disclaimer. Something like… to find your life you must lose it…or take up your cross daily…or something like that.
I heard somewhere that following Jesus will wreck you….this has become more and more aparent as I grow up. When you’re young Christianity sells like “Want to cure your addiction…follow Jesus!” or “Want all your dreams to come true….come to church!”
But deciding to follow Jesus is this crazy, insane idea that works backwards.
another one of those great reads. Read the whole post here.
I did not go to church today.
Yesterday was my aunts funeral. My aunt is one of those people who, if you knew her at all, you can’t doubt (if the bible is true) where she is today. She lived a life of servitude, always displaying Christ in her life. She’s been a teacher for the last 28 years and she was also a preacher. She raised two kids on her own. She was the one that held everyone together…when things in the family went awry, her brothers and sisters would run to her.
She was a wise woman, and she imparted her wisdom with those she came across. She will be dearly missed by all those who knew her, especially her daughter and son. She was a role model, a follower of Christ, and a good person.
Mamane. Rakgadi Mamuki. Mamiki. Stella. Galekgobe Martha Mpuru.
Known by many names…loved by many.
Robala ka kagisho Mokubung, motho wa thupana ya ga mmetlwana; moapara tolongwana; erile re le mo nokeng ya chele le chele, kubu ya pitika mo seretseng. Ke ha go tla tsalwa Mpuru yo o magoduopo yo o magapa e kareng a khudu. Ha e ye kubu.
“To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendents and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” [John 8:31-36]
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” [Romans 6:15-18]
THEY MAY TAKE OUR LIVES… BUT THEY’LL NEVER TAKE…OUR FREEEEEDOM!
In the world today, and even often within the church sometimes, I think people often misunderstand the concept of freedom. A lot of people seek to define freedom as the absence of restraint (rules/structure/laws). But total absence of restraint is actually more along the lines of anarchy and chaos. True freedom is obtained and possible when the right rules and structures are put in place that will benefit everyone concerned and not allow prejudice/disparity/dominance for specific people or groups of people within a system.
For Christians, often freedom is seen as getting all the good stuff God has to offer (salvation, grace, forgiveness, spiritual gifts, blessing, healing…) but without it affecting the way I want to live my life (ignoring things like sacrifice, cost, servanthood, humility, laying down my life) and that too leads to a sense of chaos and confusion and often the world looks on and sees no difference to itself and so is not encouraged to be a part of us at all.
We love to take the stuff God has to offer (similiar to the story of the Prodigal Son – take what we see as ours and run away from the Father) but we are not as quick to embrace wholeheartedly the truth that He holds out for us in His word and the way that He wants us to live.
KEEP IT TOGETHER
I read somewhere that happiness/peace/love without truth is a little like the freedom from pain that a leper enjoys – sooner or later his/her entire body falls apart. [leprosy is a disease where peripheral nerves become gradually insensitive]
If you don’t know about leprosy and you hear that there is a person who doesn’t feel pain, you will more than likely think, ‘Wow! What a priviledge. How awesome must that be. I wish I was like that. That must be absolute freedom.’ But once you start to realise the cost of the ‘freedom’ that this person has, and the place of pain in our lives as a warning mechanism (eg. when I touch a hot stove, the pain tells me to stop touching it – without that warning I might damage my hand beyond repair) then you realise that it is not freedom at all.
The same with people who claim to be Christians and yet their lives appear no different from anyone else (the area of relationships being an excellent example – i have heard horrendous stories of what Christians get up to in relationships that they think is okay because ‘it’s not sex’ or because ‘everyone is doing it’ or even ‘we’re going to get married’) and they think they are living in freedom. Yet without truth, it operates pretty much like in the case of the leper – sooner or later the lepers entire body falls apart… sooner or later the Christian’s entire life will fall apart.
IT’S AS STRAIGHTFORWARD AS
“If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.” [John 14:15-17]
“Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father who sent Me.” [John 14:23-24]
It’s that simple. If you call yourself a Christian then I assume you love Jesus. If you love Jesus then you follow His commands. As a Christian we need to be holding on tightly to truth, whether or not it feels good (because sometimes a bit of pain could be a positive warning sign or for our benefit in some other way) because we can trust the One who has called us to follow Him (with all our heart, soul, strength and mind.)
So maybe it is time for you to take a look at your life and maybe examine it under a different lens than perhaps the one you may normally be used to. The lens of God’s truth. Not am I happy with the way I am living and what I do with my time/money/energy and am I satisfied, so much as how does God feel about…
…the way I spend my money?
…the way I treat my parents?
…the things I do in my relationship with my girl/boyfriend?
…the way I treat my husband or wife or children?
…the underhanded business practices?
…the lies I regularly tell?
…and so on…
If there is stuff to confess and repent of (which means turn 180 degrees and start walking in a different direction as opposed to just saying ‘sorry’) then do that, restore your relationship with God, choose to follow His commands and seek His ways, and then live a life of Truth.
By: Brett Fish Anderson
This post is part of a weekly worship blog carnival, so do stop by the worship community for more setlists and sermon recaps from around the world…
I was away at a VisionK camp this weekend which was good in some ways, not so good in others, and exhausting in every way imaginable…but I know it’s going to be good in the long run so…Anyway, I wasn’t at the morning service today.
Hallelujah (your love makes me sing) (Brian Doerkson/Brenton Brown)
I could sing of your love forever (Martin Smith)
You alone can rescue (Matt Redman)
You won’t relent (Misty Edwards)
Revelation Song (Kari Jobe)
Ronel was leading today, with Kevin and Abi both choosing and leading a couple of songs each. There was hectic issues with the sound and the technical equipment and people not at practice and practice actually running over time and everything just not gelling before the service, which made everyone just frustrated and I was still super tired from camp, so attitudes were also not good…and we were all just wrecked. I don’t think we’ve ever prayed that much as the worship team before a service. And God showed up, and things just clicked…and mostly importantly worship happened…after the service we had another prayer session as the worship team just to say thanks cos really it was all Him! Wow, He’s AWESOME!
For the next six weeks we will be going through the six pillars – or main values – enGAGE stands on. Today was the first one – “Faithful followers of Jesus”.
The preach was Matthew 7: 13 – 29 and we looked at the question “What does it really mean to be a follower of Christ?”
from vs. 13 – 15 -> the gate is small (Jesus is the gate, and sometimes he’s not easily findable, you have to actively seek him) and the way narrow (following is a lifestyle choice, it’s not just about praying the sinners prayer…you have to live out your life on the narrow road, keeping guard of your path). If you are not actively swimming upstream, you are going with the flow – downstream.
from vs. 16 – 20 -> you shouldn’t always have to tell people you are Christian. they should see it in the way you live (always preach the gospel, when necessary use words – st Francis of Assisi). The consequence of being a bad tree is getting chopped down and burnt!
from vs. 21 – 23 -> You can’t fool God cos He knows your heart (motives). Yes, you are doing “good” things, but are you doing His will? (Obedience). “You are doing stuff in my name, but you don’t know me…in fact, I don’t know you…you are not one of mine.”
from vs. 24 – 27 -> foundation is created by hearing AND doing. Faith AND Deeds. Works alone can’t save you, but in faith, your works display His work in you. Storms will come, where you stand – where you hope and faith lies – will determine the outcome on the other side.
Matthew 23: 1 – 32 -> a follower should be:
Authentic: do as you say, don’t be a hypocrite
Consistent: Jesus was Jesus no matter where he was or who he was around
Humility: living for an audience of one, don’t do good works to look good before others
Intentionality: people can spot falsenes
Lastly, He wants it all or nothing at all. “following Jesus doesn’t cost much, just everything.” – Keith Green