Entrusted #likeJesus

What does it mean to be a “good servant?”

I want to be called a good servant by Jesus.  Don’t you?!

In Matthew 24, Jesus tells three successive stories.  The Faithful Manager, The Ten Virgins and The Faithful Servants.

Jesus’ words from the first of these three are particularly poignant.

“How does the faithful and wise servant behave?”

I want to be called “faithful and wise.”

“The good manager always focuses on business the same as if the owner were there, so he is found doing a good job when the owner arrives.  Truly, such a man will be put in charge of everything.”

To be counted worthy of such great responsibility is a treasured honor.

The simple truth is this.  God is ALWAYS with me.  He is always watching.  Nothing goes unnoticed.  The Holy Spirit lives inside of me.  Like it or not, He goes where I go.  He sees what I see.  He misses NOTHING.

When I walk in the power of the Spirit, I experience the dynamic presence of the living Christ.  He is with me!

And when I live with the moment by moment reality of His presence, then I will live, love, work and serve “the same as if the owner were there.”

It’s when I get lazy and neglect my relationship with God, failing to spend time with Him, that I don’t experience the reality of His presence.  In those moments, the temptation to live, love, work and serve as if He weren’t paying attention becomes much greater.

Being a faithful and wise servant, then, isn’t as much about the quality of my work as it is about my relationship to the Master.

If I love Him, I will long to spend time with Him.

If I love Him, I will want to please Him.

If I love Him, He will joyfully entrust me with greater blessing and larger responsibility.

Love breeds trust.

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM

Look Up #likeJesus

I’m sitting in Lincoln Park in downtown Chicago, enveloped by the sights, sounds and smells of the city…  surrounded by the masses of humanity.  Teenagers playing frisbee.  Joggers jogging. Kids practicing baseball.  Sweethearts walking.  Dogs on walks with their owners.  And me.  Sitting, reading, reflecting, praying.

In many ways, my thoughts are exciting.  In others, sobering.

Jesus is teaching His disciples about His return.  His words are found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.

“The Son of Man will appear in the sky, and the people of the earth will mourn.  They will see Him arrive in the clouds, with power and great glory.  He will be given all honor and authority to rule the nations.  People of every language will serve under His reign forever, and His Kingdom will never be destroyed.  When these things begin to happen, look up and be glad, for your redemption is near.”

What an amazing image.  Christ’s return.  His Kingdom.  His reign.  His glory.

People of every language serving the King.  I wonder how many languages are spoken in this city?

“Look up and be glad!”

Look up!  Look to Christ.  Long for Christ.  He’s coming!

Be glad!  God wins.  Satan loses.  Evil is vanquished.  We are victorious!

But Jesus says that in that moment the “people of this earth will mourn.”  They’re lost.  They’re doomed.  They’re finished.  Our beginning is their end.  The crushing weight of despair buries their souls under a mountain of guilt, regret and despair.

But we are His ambassadors.  We carry the message of life.  We carry the message of hope.  We carry the message of the victorious King.

So while I look up, I will also look out.  Father, help me to see the hurting.  Help me to see the lost.  Help me to see…  and serve…  and speak…  HOPE!

Look up and be glad!  And bring others to the feet of the King, that they may look up and be glad too!

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM

Trusting His Heart #likeJesus

What will God do when we pray in faith?

In Eyewitness, the conclusion of the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree ends with this statement:

“When faith connects your prayer with what God wants to do, you will see it happen.  Under those conditions, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, is as good as done.”  Matthew 21:22  & Mark 11:24

To illustrate this truth, Jesus gives this example:

“Know this for certain.  If you have unwavering faith, you will not only do things like this, but you will say to this mountain, ‘Rise and be thrown into the sea,’ and it will obey.”

Do I pray with this kind of faith?  Do I pray believing that it will be done, hoping that it will be done, or even doubting that it will be done?

Whatever you ask in prayer, believing, is as good as done.

How I pray reveals a lot about me.  Most importantly, how I pray reveals how I view God.  Do I view Him as my Father?  Do I view myself as His dearly loved child?

Prayer is an extension of relationship.  The more I pray, the closer I get to God.  The closer I get to God, the more I pray.

And the closer I get to God, the more I pray with confidence in His heart, His character, His promises and His will.

Father, I don’t just want to pray with faith, as if faith is some magical pixie dust I sprinkle on my prayers.  I want to pray with faith, not in what I’m asking for, but in who You are, and in who I am to You.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are!”  1 John 3:1

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM

Forcefully Advancing #likeJesus

Much anticipated events garner great attention.  When a new Apple product is released, the build up is months long.  Tech writers speculate about the product…  what it will look like, what its features will be, how it will revolutionize the way we live.  Then there’s the much anticipated reveal.  Steve Jobs was the master of this, walking on the stage in his black turtleneck to pull back the curtain on the iPhone, iPad, iWhatever.  And then came the release date.  Thousands upon thousands of people around the world line up outside Apple Stores, camping out even, to be the first to get their hands on the precious new product.  I love Apple products, but some people are fanatics when it comes to Apple.  Camping out in a line to be among the first to see, touch and try a new product. Insane.

Jesus was about to enter Jerusalem.  The build up for His arrival in Jerusalem for Passover week was not unlike an Apple product launch.  Talk about months and months of build up…  the miracles He’d been doing, like the feeding of the 5000 or 4000, and especially raising Lazarus from the dead, had everyone in and around Jerusalem anxious for Jesus’ arrival.

Eyewitness records, “Many who had come to Jerusalem for Passover heard that Jesus was coming.  Those who had been with Jesus at the raising of Lazarus from the dead had spread the word about what they had seen.  Some went out to meet Jesus because they had heard about the miracle.  A huge crowd gathered along the road and spread their garments before Him.  Others cut palm branches to lay a carpet in His path.”

What a scene!

And then there is the response of the Pharisees.

“Look!  The whole world is following Him, and there is nothing we can do about it.”

This reminds me of Jesus’ words to Peter and the other disciples in Caesarea Philippi.

“Upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not be able to stop it.”

This reminds me of Jesus’ words to His disciples about John the Baptist.

“The kingdom of God is forcefully advancing!”

I look at the Pharisees’ words and I want to step into the line with the others along the road coming down from the Mount of Olives.  I want to be a part of the movement.

I’m usually not a crowd follower, but I am a Christ follower.

And I want the crowd to follow Christ.  I want the throngs to clamor to Him, to cheer Him and enthusiastically follow.

I want to be a part of the reality of these words coming true in this generation.

“Look!  The whole world is following Him, and there is nothing we can do about it.”

I want to be a part of His unstoppable force.

I want to be a part of forcefully advancing His kingdom.

I want to be a part of striking down the gates of hell with the sledgehammer of the gospel to rescue the perishing.

I’m ALL IN!

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM

Urge Them #likeJesus

“Then go into the country lanes and shaded hedge rows.  Urge people to come.  I want my house to be full.”  Luke 14:24

What kind of intensity and intentionality comes through when I share the gospel?  What would motivate me to “urge people to come?”

Urge people to come.  Heaven is glorious.

Urge people to come.  Hell is horrible.

Urge people to come.  Time is short.

Urge people to come.  Love conquers all.

Urge people to come.  Purpose is discovered.

Urge people to come.  Grace is amazing.

Urge people to come.  Jesus is the answer.

Urge people to come.  That My house may be full.

God wants His house to be full.  And by that, I think He means more that merely a packed Sunday morning worship service.  As a friend says, if you want a packed house, light poodles on fire and juggle them.   It’s got to be about more than seating capacity.

God is inviting.  Wooing. Drawing.

He wants a family.  He adopts us as His own.  He is making a home.

When does a house become a home?  Fill it with strangers, it’s just a room.  Fill it with family, with love, with acceptance, with purpose, and it becomes a home.

What makes a church house a church home?  Fill it with family, with love, with acceptance, with purpose, and it becomes a home.

That’s something worth inviting, even urging, others to be a part of!

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM

Being Present #likeJesus

“On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus passed through the towns and villages, teaching as He went.”  Luke 13:22

How did Jesus determine whom to minister to, when to minister, and how to minister?

Jesus was intentional.  Or maybe a better way of looking at it is, Jesus was obedient.  He did what the Father showed Him to do.  Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit, so whom He ministered to and when and how He ministered was at the Spirit’s direction.

Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem.  He had a purpose for being there.  Yet on the journey, He was not so focused on where He was going that He lost sight of where He was or who was around Him.

Jesus lived in the present.  The places He went “through” and the people He “passed by” were not overlooked because He had “more important places to go and people to see.”

Jesus noticed.

Jesus noticed people.

Jesus notices me!

Jesus didn’t just go “through” a place.  He was present “in” that place.  Why?  Because…

It’s all important.

It all matters to Him.

I sit on a lot of planes.  I go to a lot of places. What a great reminder from Jesus’ example to be fully present, not just “where I’m going,” but even “as I am going.”

“Therefore, as you are going, make disciples of all nations!”

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM

Persistent Faith #likeJesus

When it comes to prayer, how strong, healthy and well developed am I?

Jesus prayed, not just to set us an example, but because it’s what people who love God, who are hungry for God, will naturally do.

I can read the Bible because I’m hungry for knowledge.  I want to know about God.

But when I pray, not formulaic ritualistic prayers, but honest, impassioned conversations, it reveals a heart that longs to know God intimately.

Am I an intimate of His?

Could it be that prayer is God’s love language?

In Luke 18, Jesus was teaching His disciples about prayer.   In Eyewitness, this teaching follows Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  Could it have been this experience that prompted Jesus’ teaching?

“To illustrate their need to always pray and never give up, Jesus told a story…”  Luke 18:1

Always pray and never give up!

Never?  What if I’m praying for someone and they die?  What if they’ve been dead for a day or two?  What if they’ve been dead four days, embalmed, and already buried?

That gives new meaning to “never give up!”

What’s impossible for God though?  Nothing!

There might be plenty of things that seem dead and buried.  A dream.  A relationship.  An opportunity.

Always pray and never give up!

When Jesus had heard that His friend Lazarus was sick, He said, “The purpose of His sickness is not to cause his death but to bring God glory.”

If Jesus has spoken in my life, do I believe Him?  If I do, then I will pray and never give up.

The story Jesus told to illustrate our need to always pray and never give up was about a woman who pestered a judge until he heard her case.  He concludes the story with this.

“But when the Son of Man comes, will He find such persistent faith on the earth?”

Does the way I pray reveal a persistent faith?  Do I pray like I believe God is my Father…  a good, good Father…  who loves it when I come to talk to Him about anything and everything?

Father…  Abba…  Papa, can we talk?

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM