follow me

In His sermon this week, my pastor spoke about Jesus and the disciples. Jesus chose fisherman to be his disciples, regular fishermen. The fishermen “immediately” left their boats and followed. “immediately” left their father and their fishing business to follow a man whom they had just seen for the first time!

The Greek Word “euyewv” is used for straightway, forthwith, or best fitting for modern English “immediately.” aka- quickly, shortly, without hesitation, at once or soon, as soon as possible.

This hits home with me ,because the very first disciples laid down a pure example of what faith can look like. These men did not know Jesus well when they met him, when all he said was “follow me.” But they left all that they knew and followed.

Ever since the first disciples and even today, that is all it takes to follow Jesus. It is not necessary to know everything about Him in order to believe and to follow Him. I am not saying that people shouldn’t look into Jesus and learn about Him before they make any kind of decision. Please do the research, Jesus speaks for Himself and the more you know about Him the better.

But for the point of this post and just pure reflection, it is an interesting thought. The first disciples simply followed. There wasn’t any skepticism. My point really is that this still happens today. Look at my salvation story, for example: I was very young when I came to know Christ. At eight years of age, I only knew the basics…Jesus died for my sins. Sure I grew up in a Christian home, but I was not trained on epistemology, hermeneutics, and Christology, not as an eight year old. My mom asked me if I would follow Him. I kind of understood that I was a sinner. But I wanted whatever it was that my mom had and was talking about. So I followed Him. That is it! I was saved without knowing very much at all about Jesus.

Today as my faith has matured a lot, I enjoy studying those deeper things I referred to. And if you read the Gospels and then read Acts, you see how Peter and the disciples’ faith mature quite a bit too. They knew very little and then over time and in their relationship with God they began to understand more deeply.

It is really basic observation but truly amazing, Jesus is for everyone!

if Christians really believe…

why are they afraid of me? Why don’t they tell me the truth …
(Interesting points from Penn Jillette, from teller and Penn)

“How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible, and not tell them that?”

The most dangerous thing …

…a Christian can do in this day and age is to live in a Christian bubble, with only Christian friends and never develop real relationships with the lost.

This has been my observation as have been studying evangelism, the post-modern culture, and the church.

You see the culture is more relativistic. They are less likely to be concerned with any theory that claims to be the one true way. They are more skeptical of any type of theory or logic, in general. They have questions but they are not sure what type of answer they want. They enjoy the journey of life.

What they value and want is real relationship. They want someone to love them, listen to them. 1. Becuase all humans desire this. 2. Becuase there is a higher value on this in the post-modern society. Community and social connection. People want to share ideas and blend the relative ideas together. They are extremely acceptable and tolerant of pretty much any belief system, as long as it does not claim to be the “One true way.”

Missional churches have placed a lot of time and creatively into the methods of evangelism. Let me tell you, these creative ways of sharing the Gospel, some of them are pretty effictive. But the biggest thing I have learned and like about most of these missional expiriments is this: the foundation of the outreach is a relationship.

Live out your faith, live out Jesus in your life. Build a real relationship with your lost friends and do not base the relationship on if they go to church with you or not. Do not base it on if they accept Jesus or not. Just be real with them. Be honest with them. Love them. DO invite them to church with you, but do not try to force anything on them.

The most dangerous thing a Christian cna do is to not have any non-Christian frineds, not share his faith, live in a Christian bubble. This is dangerous and bad for all Christians for several reasons!

It portrays a selfish “fat baby” Christian and Christinity. We have portrayed Christianity in a negative light and outsiders have a negative (false) perception of what Christianity is and what we are about long enough! It is time to demonstrate the Gospel and live as Jesus did!

It is not responsible way to live. God has called us to share our faith with others.

It shows lack of maturity, shallowness , and misplacement of priorities. Is Jesus Christ your first love? Prove it.

Intentional Christianity.

From UnChristian to Christian

My reflection on Chapter 9 of UnChristian:
This is my final reflection on The book Unchristian. I wish that every Christian will read this book (or at least all my posts reflecting on this book, lol 🙂 ) It was a good read and well worth the time. It has got me thinking a lot and the book has a strong impact on my soul. I really hope we can change our perception over the next 10-30 years of what it means to be a Christian!

In sum, it all comes down to this: being more Christ-like!
We must learn to respond to people the same way Jesus did!
The more mature we become in our faith the more we are able to see our need to continue learning and growing. expect persecution but understand who your real enemies are. It is not flesh and blood but of spiritual warfare. Satan and his demons want to see you miss the mark in your faith. They want to distract you from the main goal. (your relationship with Christ!)

When you respond to cynics and opponents of your faith consider defending God’s fame. Not your own image/fame! maybe this will be humbling, admitting you might be wrong, but bring glory to God!

Connect with people with relationships! Spiritual influence occurs more often in the actual relationships you have with people. God has put people and opportunities in your life to have an impact on! Jesus said that we would be known for our love in these types of relationships.

Be Creative! Just as Jesus was a master communicator, we have the oppurtunity to be creative in our relationships, in the way we communicate, and the way we share the Gospel. Breaking through to our audience is something that modern day Christians are lacking today. We need to find fresh ways to communiate the Gospel to a society that no longer has a background in the Bible! Ask the right questions, engage minds, get people to think for themselves about the Gospel. The Word of God is sharp and the Holy Spirit will turn that Word in thier minds, but we have to get their attention!

One of the biggest eye-openers, and heart changers is simple servce. Jesus did it. And Christian leaders that make an impact are servants. We need to cultivate a deep passion for outsiders and trly love on them with all our hearts and serve them. Put them first. Show them justice and love. This will require sacrifice, but it is nessicary!

Learn to listen. All humans are craving attention and real relationships. Do not make the relationship about you. But listen and love them!

As I said before it comes down to Christ-likeness. Have we lost sight of the main thing?
Is Jesus, the main thinkg in your life. Once you build upon the rock of Jesus – you mature and become more Christ-like and develop all of the things also talk about in this post. So to start get your relationship wiht Christ right. When we act like Jesus, when we look like Jesus….(guess what?), people will see Jesus and they will want what we have. They will desire to be around us. THey will come to know Jesus, in just the little Jesus in us, but the real thing!

The Pushy Christian

This is a reflection and call to action about chapter 4 of UnChristian by David Kinnaman. This is a book every Christian should read, in my opinion. And I will soon have a reflection from each chapter up shortly.

This chapter is called “Get Saved!” It addresses the perception that Christians are insincere and concerned only with getting converts.

In today’s post-modern mindset, the journey of life is stressed as more important that the destination. The process over the product! So with that said there is a lot of skeptism about any religion, far more about which religion is right!

Outsiders sometimes relate Christians to salesmen. Not only are outsiders skeptical about which message is correct, but they also question Christian motive and intention for sharing and being pushy about sharing the Gospel mesage.

Thinking about the reading, here are some thoughts that stick out about what is happening and what we should be doing:

Instead of converting the masses, focus on the relationships.

Don’t do risky things. Be a good steward of the Gospel and remeber that how you choose to share the Gospel is as important as actaully doing it!

Respect people. Do not offend someone in order to share the Gospel!

The logical barrier is not the only one. In fact most people come to know Christ for emotional reasons, rather than logical ones. The point is let the Holy Spirit do the convincing and do not focus just on the logical reasonings.

Keep in mind a lot of people think they are “Christian” (becuase they live in America, their parents were, they went to church when they were young, or they truly have gotten off track…)
so be respectful of their pasts, get to know them. Talk through the issues. Where do they stand with Jesus Christ? Is it a shallow superfical belief or is there something really there?

Others have truly had a real expireince with the church. It might have been a negative expireince and they have left the church completely. They have formed conclusions are really skeptical of anything you are going to say. They were searching and did not find the truth or anything worthwhile at church. This should be a wake-up call to the church!
If we are missing these oppurtunities, then how well are we truly loving and sharing God’s love?

It is time to stop living self-righteously as a church. Time to stop. Open up the doors to the outsiders and listen to them!

It should not be about a mere conversion, but about full transformation. Not just a “get out of Hell free,” but discipleship and growth in lifestyle.

Think, Love, Listen.
Let outsiders think about the Gospel. Love them. Listen to them. Build a real relationship and not just a conversion. Make visible the invisible, God and his love!

The Christian of love

This post 4 of 6 posts where I have been reflecting on a chapter out of the book UnChristian.
The chapter is about Christians being Judgmental we have really caused a lot of pain and negative image because of our own sinfulness. And in the last three posts we saw the negative. We saw how Christians are wrong to be so judgmental.

But there is hope. There is a way we can be Christians of truth and still reach out to the lost. Key Word from last post was respect: How?

Listen to outsiders.
Don’t label.
Don’t be so smart. Don’t pretend to have all the answers.

Have empathy. imagine yourself in their shoes. Really get to know them, their situation! Understand them!!!

Be genuine and real with everyone. Don’t use the relationship to front a “christian agenda.” Be yourself. Allow the Holy Spirit to weave in your faith in the conversation but do not be too aggressive about it. Be conversational. Be real.

Be a friend with no other motive. This speaks BIG!

See them as God does.

Let God judge!

A new kind of Theologian

Theology is a passion of mine. I love studying it. I am no expert. In fact one reason why I love theology so much is because it makes me think and I challenge almost everything in it while it challenges everything in my life. My main source is the Bible. I struggle with the issues regularly. There are tons of resources, classes, theories, and what not but the most important is what the Word of God says.

What really gets me going, is the fact that there are quite a few other Gen Yers who are really strong in Theology. But they are not limited to specialization. You see, us Gen Yers are tired of all the categories, all the specific politics that is within anything, including theology.

Instead of fighting between conservative and liberal theologies, the next Generation of theologians are wise in that they want to work together. They want to know what the essentials of our faith are. They want to engage culture and share the Good News, instead of gaining respect among the elite Christians fighting for their side of an issue. Instead they want to use their arguments in real life. They want to led people to Christ and be well-informed. Instead of merely arguing theology, they want to live theology. We are at a point where we can do big things through the love of Jesus. At point where we can do what truly is essential in our faith, evangelism.

Okay, yes we must be careful NOT to fall into extremely liberal thoughts. For example we do not want to be so engaging that we loose our doctrines. We need to be engaging but we do not have to compromise our doctrines and standards. We can be emerging but not emergent! And the beautiful thing is that many Gen Y theologians understand this. We are sort of trying to get the best of both conservative (strong doctrines) and liberal (engaging culture) theologies.

The point is we are able to dig into our roots, the Bible. We are to be “in but not of the World!”
And I am so excited that a lot of young theologians are ready to make social changes real, engage our neighbors with the true Gospel, and yet not loose the actual doctrines of the Word of God. We ourselves need to remian in the Wword, but also we are called to disciple followers.
Evangelism is part one, discipleship is on-going and continual!