Follow Me

Christians are often called “People of the Book.” Many Christians would agree with that label, but it is really born out of a misunderstanding. Christ-followers are not actually people of the Book, but people of the Person. We follow Christ, not a book that Jesus wrote.

Marcus Borg explains the profound distinction: “Indeed, one of the defining characteristics of Christianity is that we find the revelation of God primarily in a person, an affirmation unique among the major religions of the world. For Judaism and Islam, though Moses and Muhammad are receivers of revelation, God is not revealed in them as persons, but in the words of the Torah and Qur’an. So also in Buddhism: the Buddha as a person is not the revelation of God; rather, the Buddha’s teachings disclose the path to enlightenment and compassion. But Christianity finds the primary revelation of God in a person.”

Follow me. Trust me. Come to me. I am the truth, says Jesus.

The implication is important. Reading, studying, and understanding the Bible is not the goal of a Christ-follower. Bible knowledge is just a first step toward the goal of following Jesus. According to Thomas Adams, “The Bible is to us what the star was to the wise men; but if we spend all our time in gazing upon it, observing its motions, and admiring its splendor, without being led to Christ by it, the use of it will be lost on us.”

Of course, this method of communicating Himself through the person of Christ rather than through a holy book will always scandalize religious people whose focus is to be “People of the Book.” We need to be experts in the relationship that the Bible points towards and not miss the whole point of the book in the first place.

The Balanced Christian Life

All Christians are called to minister. Ministry is when, in the Name of Jesus, we reach out to impact and touch someone’s life with the love of God found only in Jesus. We are all a part of the “priesthood of all believers” and thus called to worship and serve God – and in the process, serve one another. This, of course, can be time consuming and can often throw our daily schedule out of balance. This is especially true because ministry is so totally unpredictable. Opportunities to touch a life can pop up at any time and often do so at inconvenient times.

Because of this things in our personal and family lives will often “suffer.” They will be neglected, postponed, cancelled, or done with less care and attention than we would really want to give to the situation. Our lives will, at times, seem out of balance.

One of the most common questions people ask me about is how I balance my life, family, and ministry. My response is simple, “I don’t live a balanced life.”

In my opinion, the balanced life is unachievable and unbiblical. Jesus didn’t call us to live a balanced life. He called us to follow Him.

While following Jesus, our life will often be out-of-balance. He may lead us on long stretches of ministry followed by a substantial season of rest when others will minister. Ministry will rarely be predictable and much cannot be scheduled. So living a “balanced life” is seldom really possible. Yet, we have been told over and over again to live a balanced life and put God first, family second, work third and then ministry…There are a variety of versions of this saying out there. Some even place “self” time in after God and before family – after all, we are called to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and thus we need “me” time to stay connected to self. It simply is never that simple.

Here is what Jesus said: “Follow Me.” Now, that is what we must do. And, as we follow Him He will give us His guidance and wisdom as we go through the day focused on Him and His purposes. Really, if we will “seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness all these other things will be added…” and if we are following Jesus they will be added in the right order and already prioritized. That is the way we are to live life.

Some people are pursuing the illusive goal of the balanced life only to fail again and again. Their marriages struggle. Their ministries limp along. They are spiritually exhausted. Jesus said: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with Me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won;t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 The Message Version).

That is what we must do then – and He will take care of all of the details – even the number of hairs on your head.

Take a Bold Step Forward

I believe the Lord is saying that it is time to take a bold step forward in your walk with Him. It is time to become serious about the plan and purpose of God for your life. It is time to grab hold of the terrific future He has for you. I believe we are in a time when the Lord is prompting all who call themselves Christians no matter what age to reach out and grab hold of their personal future with Him. Read more

People Pleasing

We were taking about the disease to please. Pleasing people is a major issue in the life and ministry of the believer and can be devastating to the spiritual life of every individual. Why? Because pleasing people is more of a spiritual problem than a relational or boundary issue.  When you are far more concerned with what people think than with what God thinks – you have a spiritual problem and not just a relational one. Read more

The Disease to Please

There is a stupid disease that has never been diagnosed properly in many believers – the disease to please. This is the disease that causes us to do things that we really don’t want to do or that we know are not good for us – but we do them because we want to fit in and be one of the crowd, one of those considered “in,” “cool,” “with it.”

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Wisdom From Proverbs

If you are trying to teach your children to organize their lives in a biblical manner and to live in a healthy manner that will lead to a satisfaction that is based on knowing they have pleased God and fulfilled God’s plan and purpose for their life – the book of Proverbs  is for you. Here is a quick Craig’s list of wisdom from that book you can work with as you raise children: Read more

Kids Today

Many surveys and studies have documented the way so many kids graduate from high school and then let their faith slide or dissolve altogether after graduation – whether they go on to college or university or simply find a job and work. A recent survey by America’s Research Group revealed that 95% of born again Christians aged twenty to twenty-nine attended church regularly during their elementary school years. However, 55% attended while in high school, and only 11% were still attending in college.

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Soul Rest – Soul Fire

When Jesus died He was relatively young, compared to other potential world-changing figures. At their respective deaths, Muhammad was sixty, Socrates was seventy, Plato and Buddha were both more than eighty, and Moses was one hundred twenty! Christ’s death came so comparatively early in His messianic career (probably in His early thirties) that we really only have about three years of His adult life on record. It is amazing that He left the impact He did on human history, more than any other figure that has ever lived.

What we know about Jesus’ teaching is as bizarre as it is beautiful. Jesus didn’t just teach about God, life, and salvation; He taught about Himself, and how He could help us connect with God. Jesus saw Himself as a conduit to the divine. Specifically, He taught that His death would somehow be the key to making that connection real (see Matthew 16:21-25 and Luke 18:31-34).

As we read the Gospels, which contain His life story and His three years of ministry, we are reading about Someone who is different than all others before or since. He is God born as a man who came to live as one of us and to reveal Himself and thus show us the heart of the Father for the height of His creation – the ones made in His image – humankind. He became one of us to reveal Himself and thus, in His life and ministry, He did not just talk academically about God – He revealed Himself to us in every aspect of His life and mission; His birth and His death and especially in His resurrection.

He is not just another great teacher. He did not just teach a bunch of principles by which to live a life pleasing to God as other moral teachers did. He did not point to God – He was (is) God and pointed to Himself while making a way for us to come to Him and find rest for our souls and passion for life – both at the same time. Soul rest and soul fire were and are available by coming to Him and trusting in Him. I believe we are missing both in the church today. I also believe both are still available today if we are willing to come to Him and then pay the price. The price: total trust, total surrender, and total availability.

How badly do you want rest? And passion for God and life? Willing to pay the price?

Weary of the Word

Martin Luther once said, “Nothing is more perilous than to be weary of the Word of God. Thinking he knows enough, a person begins little by little to despise the Word until he has lost Christ and the gospel altogether.”

So many believers are not longer living by the Word of God. Of course, some never did as they held to an outward form of our religion and really never did experience the power of our faith and the power of the Word to transform lives. However, of those who once read and studied the Word many have moved away from this daily discipline. They have done this for a variety of reasons – they are busy, life has crashed in on them, they are bored, it no longer speaks to them, they are disillusioned, there is simply no life in their devotional time with God….the list goes on. But, no matter the reason – it is simply seriously dangerous to lose the disciple of daily Bible study and reading.

The Bible states that it was written by God the Father, inspired by the Holy Spirit and that the Word is powerful for changing lives. In fact, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states that the Scriptures were given and is profitable that the person of God many be complete and equipped. “Complete” here means to become more like Jesus. That means to be developing His character, growing in the fruit of the Spirit, learning to be gentle and loving with everyone. “Equipped” means to be trained to do what Jesus did (John 14:12) and thus continue His ministry of “seeking and saving the lost.” (Luke 19:10) To be out of the Word on a daily basis short-circuits both of these purposes and all of their benefits.

Then you become a believer who no longer is connected to God’s Word – your daily spiritual bread (Matthew 4:4) and your spirit person on the inside slowly but surely starves to death. The result – what was once alive is dead. The Word of God that was once alive to you is now simply print on a page. Your ability to discern truth from falsehood – and thus error – slowly ebbs away as discernment is based on a living and working knowledge of the Word. And, your spirit which was once alive also dies as you are no longer in a relationship with Jesus. At the end of the process you are simply no longer born again but are, once again, well on your way to hell.

However, most Christians do not think this through and even though they are not walking in the Word and thus lack discernment they really believe they are still okay and things are good. This is called self-deception. This is dangerous.

The basis of our Christian faith is a relationship with God. To have a healthy relationship we need to hear His voice. The primary way He still speaks today is through His Word. If you are not reading you are not hearing…and will soon find yourself on the outside looking in and just holding to the outward form of the religion but never walking in power. This is a sad situation but many find themselves in it. It is time for a change!

So You Hate People?

Common sense tells me that if I truly believed that people who die without Christ will spend not just one year, or 150 years, or 150,000 years, or 150 trillion years, but an ETERNITY in hell, this would be a game-changer.

I would completely upend my life in the pursuit of changing the course of every person I met. Everything about me would change – the way I spend my time, the way I spend my money, my career choices, activities my kids get involved in, my priorities, my daily schedule, everything. If my life truly reflected what I say I believe, everything about my life would change.

The need to evangelize is so self-evident that even people who are not Christians realize it. Comedian and spiritual skeptic Penn Jillette posed a question that I think every Christian must answer:

“I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. If you believe there is a heaven and a hell and people could be going to hell…and you think it’s not worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…how much do you have to hate someone to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

So my question: when was the last time you spoke to someone about heaven and hell and their need to know Jesus and be forgiven to go to heaven? How long has it been? Have you ever shared the gospel with another person? If not, why not?

Let me encourage you – people are open to a gentle but persuasive presentation of the good news as found in the Bible. Not a cultural gospel – but the real gospel. They are searching for truth and for meaning in life. Everyone believes in something – give them the opportunity to believe in someone – Jesus!