Posts

Follow Me: FLIPPED, Upside-Down Living

Most of us get it backwards. We think the key to the life we’ve always wanted is to believe the right things and behave the right way. Just take a look at social media. Facebook Philosophers regularly post one-liners, pics and quotes intended to inspire, challenge, convict and guilt people into changing what they believe and how they behave. We see this in politics as well. We pass laws based on our beliefs designed to manage someone’s behavior with words on a page.

It makes sense that we would think the key to success in life is belief and behavior. They’re both measurable. One by what we say. The other by what we do. But when it comes to discovering and living spiritual truth there is a far more important practice than belief and behavior. It’s the way Jesus did it and it’s far less complicated than we want to make it.

Jesus says, “Follow me.”

When Jesus approached Peter, James and John, three fishermen on the shore of the sea of Galilee, he didn’t give them a list of qualifications. He never asked for their résumé. He simply said, “Follow me.” Later Jesus goes to Matthew. He’s working in the tax office. Jesus doesn’t look at Matthew and say, “Believe this, obey that.” Instead, he looks at Matthew and says, “Follow me.”

We see this pattern in the Old Testament too. God goes to Noah and later Abraham and essentially says, “Follow me.” And they do. Most people think of religion as a list of rules and regulations. When I say Old Testament I’m guessing one of the first things that comes to mind is the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments were first given to Moses. Moses lived about 600 years after Abraham. For 600 years there was no list, only one explicit request, “Follow me.”

When asked what made Jesus tick he responded simply, “I do the things I see my Father do. I say the things I hear my Father say.” In other words Jesus said, “I follow him.”

We get it backwards. We try to convince ourselves and everyone else that if we will believe the right things and behave the right way only then we can follow Jesus. But that’s not what Jesus said. He said, “Follow me.”

Follow him long enough and belief will come. We see that in the Disciples. Following leads to belief. Belief leads to changed behavior.

We understand this. We do it everyday on Facebook and Twitter. We click “like”. We press “follow”.  And suddenly we receive regular updates about the thoughts and actions of the people we find interesting. We may agree or disagree. But either way, the people we follow influence the thoughts we have.

I don’t know what you think about Jesus or Christianity. Maybe you don’t put a lot stock in anything spiritual or religion related. Maybe you grew up in church. Maybe you’ve been burned. Maybe you’re doing all the right things, all the right way. No matter where you are, you’re in a good place to start. My challenge for you today isn’t that you would change your beliefs or behavior, but that you would, for a season try one simple thing.

“Follow him.”

Let me be clear. I don’t mean follow his followers. I mean follow him. Go to Biblegateway.com or YouVersion.com. Search for the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John in the New Living Translation and start reading. Read a little every day. Let’s say, one chapter each day. It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not. I read things online or in the newspaper everyday I don’t believe. Just like checking Facebook or Twitter get in the habit of reading a chapter from the Bible each day. Follow him.

These thoughts inspired by Andy Stanley.

Be the Moon – Give it a Listen

Moon

John 1:9-14 | Listen to the song – Be the Moon

Throughout the Gospel of John Jesus is referred to as, ‘the light’. John 1:9 says Jesus was, “…the true light which gives light to every one coming into the world.” In John 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” And John 12:46 says, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”

A few years ago I wrote and recorded a demo of a song, “Be the Moon“. Use the link to give it a spin. The chorus says:

I wanna be the moon and reflect the Son;
Fill the whole world with His glory and the wonder of His love.
To change the seas, and show the way;
Shine Your light into the darkness, turn the night into day.
So take this heart of stone of mine and ignite it with your grace.
I wanna be the moon.

Questions for today:

  • If Jesus is the light of the world what do you see when His light shines in your heart?
  • If Jesus is the light of the world what do people see when His light reflects out from your life?

Be the moon – reflect the Son.

Tattoo Stories

I don’t have any tattoos.

But every time I see one I have this compulsive need to ask for details. Every tattoo tells a story. Some are funny, some sad, some just pointless. My dad used to have a t-shirt that said, “Marry a fat, tattooed woman. Have heat in the winter, shade in the summer and moving pictures all year!” It was illustrated with the woman described. I’m not sure where he got it and I only remember seeing it once. My mom made it vanish after it’s first appearance.

Whatever the case, tattoos are distinguishing marks that tell a story. They uniquely identify the person who wears them.

I’m reading through the Gospel of John. John writes for a singular purpose. He wants to persuade you to believe that Jesus is God. In the other gospels Jesus works miracles. Matthew, Mark and Luke want to demonstrate the power of Jesus. Not John. In the Gospel of John every miraculous thing Jesus does is called a ‘sign’. It’s ‘semeionin the greek. It means, “distinguishing mark“.

John doesn’t show us miracles to demonstrate the power of Jesus, but to prove that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. John records 7 different miraculous signs. Each is a distinguishing mark that tells a story designed to convince you that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Him.

The evidence is convincing.

What are the distinguishing marks of your faith? What story does your life tell? Will your life paint a picture of Jesus that compels people to want to know Him?

John 20:30-31 says, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

I don’t have any tattoos – and you may not either, but we are the distinguishing marks of the story of Christ. What do people believe about Jesus because of you?