The Jesus Style
It strikes me over and over that the focus of renewal in our lives and in our churches should be an all-out focus on becoming more like Jesus.
I am becoming more stirred all the time to believe that it was not just what He said that is the gospel, but it was how He lived and brought people to change and maturity in their lives that is our example…and is part of the gospel as well.
What we need is a full-scale move towards the Jesus Style.
And what is the Jesus style all about?
Here is my short list.
- It is taking the Jesus life mostly "out there." Seems like we often have made the Jesus life what we talk about in a preset, formalized, meeting-style setting. How many of us go towards containerization – Sundays, Wednesdays, everything "in the building." This seems to create an unavoidable dichotomy in people's minds: .God is there (at church)….and the rest is up to me. What would happen if we could see a shift to seeing the church as truly out there, where life is lived, and the gatherings of the church (the people) are for the purpose of reporting in on what God is doing, rather than learning something new or saying "hello" to the already found.
- The Jesus style, when you really think about it, was mostly un-ordered/spontaneous/interrupted – ie walking along, fishing, sitting on a mountain-side – kind of process. And how much energy we spend trying to keep most everything on schedule, and the quicker the better, and 2 or 3 three things at once = more efficient! Really?
- The Jesus style? Mostly small, personal, family, group-focused – the twelve not the 3,000 – handpicked. Discipleship, the Jesus style, was about a joined life, not a notebook.
We count the faces at gatherings…and say "success" if it is growing and "failure," if it is ebbing. Unlike Jesus, who knew success was marked by real life commitment in people and pushed all of them so hard, that he probed those closest to Him with the question: "Will you leave me, too?"
- The Jesus style? Mostly close to the earth and unrushed. Did Jesus ever jog? J Not at least in the text of scripture. The "everyone's looking for you" moments seemed to produce a further relaxation of pace, not a speeding up. Oh, the difference between our culture and time and His. When the Bible says that Jesus came in "the fullness of time," I wonder if that implies choice of culture as well as prophetic fulfillment? He came in a time when there were no engines, no public means of transportation, no electricity, no phones, no internet, no printing presses, no TV, no grocery stores, no refrigeration. Can you add to this list? And what does this mean?
- The Jesus style? Mostly dependent and humble, relational. Asking for food, lodging, survival. He started out that way at birth… and to the end it was the way He lived. "The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head" but he sure is "a friend of sinners." Hmm.
It doesn't make pulling down soft sheets at night to rest, in a home that you own, wrong…..but it does contradict the success measures we so easily add to the "more and more" of our culture.
There is so much more that could be said about the Jesus Style.
(Why not read the gospels again and see what you can find? …and I would love to hear from you for I feel very much on the discovery edge of this blog.)
What then, do we need to ask God for, so that we can move towards the Jesus style?
Here's another very short list…
- More insight into what we are really trying to do, and should be trying to do. And what should be the focus of our church family?
- Less energy on what is really not critical to life and spreading the gospel.
- A slower, more thoughtful pace of life…walking everything out with Jesus.
- More encouragement from steps in the process that is real
….and less from nickels and noses being such a supreme index of success.
Jesus talked about parties in heaven over "one sinner who repents."
What if we had a party here on earth each time too?
Jesus, come and fill your church, with your life, your ways and your passion.