Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Jesus Style

October 21, 2009


I've been reading John's story of Jesus lately.

It is amazing - and strengthening -and clarifying - and challenging - to keep reading and keep picking up insights. I don't think I will ever get enough of the Gospels.

As I read I am using a dark brown pencil :) to underline phrases and expressions that tell me something of the timing Jesus lived with. And the pace and the processes of His life. This is easily seen in lots of the text, but often "hides" due to our traditional points of emphasis on other things. Sometimes I have been very guilty of looking only for doctrine and not life. Words, and concepts rather than behavior and relationships.

For instance, picking it up in John 4:40 - "So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed...After the two days he departed for Galilee....so he came again to Cana in Galilee.....and after this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem." John 4:40-5:1 - excerpted.

What is clear if the text is looked at carefully is that during these brief verses, about 130 miles is travelled......and all of it on foot. With no motels, no cars or fast transport, no McDs, no support systems of almost any kind. No bottled water or hamburger stands. No phones. No computers. No highways. No.....(keep going - and see how many things you can think of.....)

So what do you do when you have to go 130 miles in that environment?

In a 24 time frame this weekend....Jackie and I went about 300 miles. And that was just the front and back ends of that commitment to ministry. We didn't even think about it as we zoomed down Highway 71.

Join the Jesus group and the 130 would take you days. All done by foot.

All done in dependence on people....foraging for food, and a place to sleep. You made friends everywhere because they were the support system on which you depended. And with Jesus it was a 24/7 deal....

And so what do you process in that kind of schedule?

Everything. Everything that matters at all. Everything that comes to mind as important at all. All the questions that have ever bugged you. All the fears that have ever tried to stop you. Everything.

Doesn't this line of thinking make you yearn for just one of those walks with Jesus?

And somehow, lots of us (me too) have often got our spirituality reduced to a big gathering, for :90 on a weekend.....all put together by polished people....with greeters at the doors and all the words spoken with careful thought. Often it can be a group of very independent people meeting like porcupines all in reverse. (sorry!)

And then it is panicsville for the rest of the week....and we drive ourselves and everyone else around us crazy!

Hmm. Not quite the Jesus style.

So, how do we move more into the Jesus style?


No one can shift styles very quickly or without some pain....so if you are a pastor reading this, go slow. You make the shifts personally first and then pray a lot about what to lead your people in.

As one voice, I think the Jesus style would move more into our lives if...
1. we took more walks...literally - hey, how about creating a neighborhood walking club? (I saw a wonderful church campus this weekend and encouraged them to closely measure the perimeter of their beautiful property and make it available as a walking path to seniors.)

We would move more into the Jesus style if...
2. we turned off the noise more and more - TV, radio, IPods..whatever is dulling the precious silence out of which we can "be still and know" the voice of God.

We would move more into the Jesus style if...
3. we made eating together a more community and more relaxed quality time of conversation (and food) - and not the Bronco's (ok...don't quit reading now!)

We would move into the Jesus style if...
4. if we found a hill near our home and climbed it to pray for awhile
5. if we prayed for those needing God's intervention wherever we found them - the Jesus style includes His delight in doing big stuff in popular places like Safeway and Target.

6. Can you keep adding to this list?......

What the world needs is Jesus. Living in us, and speaking rescue and life into the panicy stuff that is often around us.



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