Archive for the ‘Discipleship’ Category

This Sunday we begin a three-week series entitled “So…You Think You Are a Christian.”  Even as I type, a backdrop of mirrors, etc. is being hung in the Quarry as a backdrop to what I pray will be a challenging and intentionally introspective series on following Jesus.  See you THIS Sunday 9:30, 11:30 a.m., or 5:30 p.m.  Since you are already planning on being here, you should bring a friend too.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…” – Matthew 6:33a

I’ve noticed in my life that what I allow to dominate my mind (thoughts), will also take over my passions.  I will get most excited about what it is that I’ve been thinking about.  For good or bad.  And my thoughts are often guided by things that I give space and time to – T.V., movies, podcasts, conversations, talk radio, books, etc.  And from these things I can get very passionate about different topics and issues.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It is a normal thing.  But what is difficult as a follower of Jesus is if my thoughts are dominated by everything BUT the things of Jesus.  And I see that all the time.

Throw out a topic or an issue in regards to Jesus, church, the Kingdom of God, the movement of the Holy Spirit…and it can elicit very little by way of response – even from followers of Jesus.  No passion.  No excitement.  No affection.  No enthusiasm.

BUT – if you throw out the following topics or issues – a mosque near ground zero, whether Obama is a Muslim or not, health care plans, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Republicans, Democrats, Rush Limbaugh, etc. you’ll see people light up and speak with such passion, conviction (sometimes it’s just anger disguised as conviction), and enthusiasm you can’t get them to calm down.  They write blog posts about it.  They post links to Facebook pages.  They share their passionate opinion with anyone who will listen, etc.

[this principle can also apply to things like – American Idol, Survivor, UFC, Outback cheese fries, Notre Dame football, Pawn Stars, Cubs baseball, Seinfeld, Apple computers, Lost, The Biggest Loser (I’m just sayin’) 🙂 Then again…I think these are some of Jesus’ favorite things.]

But talk about the things of Jesus.  Nothing.

If you listen to Rush Limbaugh for three hours every afternoon but listen to Jesus for just five minutes (if that) on your drive to work, Rush Limbaugh will probably dominate your thoughts.  Over time you will look more like Rush’s disciple than Jesus’.

If you read several books a week on the evils of the Obama administration (or Bush administration) but read nothing from the Bible (or other literature devoted to discipleship and spiritual growth) – it will be reflected in what it is you are most passionate and excited about.

What has captured your thoughts?  What are you giving your best energy and passion to?

“…if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8b

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” – Colossians 3:2

Do not be conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Romans 12:2

Go here and read this post.

Then…what do you think?  Do you feel more like a “why” or a “how?”

It seems most churches in discussing which individuals are in good standing within their “boundaries of fellowship” use the pattern of:

BelieveBehaveBelong (meaning you have to believe certain tenants, behave in certain ways, and then you can belong).

This seems contrary to the ministry and example of Jesus, so at LSC, we follow a pattern that looks more like this:

Belong – Believe – Behave (meaning you are given a rightful place of belonging with Jesus, and from that position, you will find beliefs and behaviors change).

That is why we welcome without reservation MESSED UP people.  And Living Stones Church has a lot of broken, sinful, messed up, “blew it royally” people suffering in everything you can imagine.  But it is a directional thing.

They are headed towards Jesus.  And we’ve got all the patience in the world for someone who is moving towards Jesus and along the is struggling with whatever.

What is entirely different, however, is when someone is moving away from Jesus.  They have belonged to Jesus, they have had their thoughts transformed by Jesus, and their behavior lived in conformity to the Ways of Jesus, and now, they have decided to turn away from him and move in another direction.

In that, we have little patience.  And don’t expect the Pastor to smile and say “everything is going to be OK.”  Because it won’t be.  You are moving AWAY from Jesus.  And the end of that journey is NEVER O.K.  And my call, with as much love and grace as I can muster, will be for you to repent and head back towards Him.

Direction is everything.

Here is the insert that was in the bulletin this past Sunday with eight quick on-ramps by way of volunteering.  You may have needed some time to think through some of the possibilities.  Following after Jesus who serves, let me encourage you to consider the opportunity to get involved here at Living Stones Church!!  If you missed the chance you can sign up at this link as well!!!

Intention of Obedience

Posted: February 23, 2010 in Confession, Discipleship

“The idea that you can trust Christ for the hereafter but have no intention to obey him now is an illusion generated by a widespread unbelieving ‘Christian culture.’ In fact, you can no more trust Jesus and not intend to obey him than you can trust your doctor and not intend to follow his or her advice.  If you don’t intend to follow the advice, you simply don’t trust the person.”  – Dallas Willard

On Growing in Christ

Posted: February 4, 2010 in Discipleship, faith

From Revolution of Character by Dallas Willard & Don Simpson:

Our initial move toward Christlikeness cannot be toward self-esteem.  Realistically, I’m not okay, and you’re not okay.  We’re all in serious trouble.  That must be our starting point.  Self-esteem in our situation will only breed self-deception and frustration.

We must know that the ruined soul is not a person who has missed a few theological points and may flunk a theological exam at the end of life.  Hell is not an “oops!” or a slip.  One does not miss heaven by a hair but by a constant effort to avoid and escape God.