Sunday, September 25, 2011

Living Art

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago(Ephesians 2:10).

Michelangelo’s sculptures express his genius, even to my untrained eyes. Shakespeare’s plays point to a master. Beethoven's symphonies suggest incomparable talent.

But, the words above, which are from the Bible say that, in some way, a person who follows the way of Jesus becomes a “masterpiece" crafted by God no less.

It says that in choosing to follow Jesus, something remarkable emerges--Living Art.

Is that true? I know I wore the Christian-tag for years and didn't really follow the ways of Jesus. I was missing the boat. But these past few years, I've been re-thinking what it means to for me be a Jesus-follower. I've been by reading the gospel stories about Jesus over and over. And I've been keeping my eyes on Jesus-followers who seem to be paying attention to the radical ways of Jesus.

And so when I read the verse above about being God's Living Art, I see it in Jesus. He lived art-fully and so do some people that I know.

So the verse seems to say something like this to me: “Look at the Jesus-followers you'v come to admire. Think about the difference God has made and keeps making in their lives. He started with their wrecked, busted, and broken lives. God found people stuck in lesser stories and led them into a better story. In it, God is crafting them. They are becoming something beautiful in God's hands as they choose to re-think Jesus and his ways.”

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Max Lucado's "Max on Life" video

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

"I'm not homeless. I'm houseless. I have a home, just not a house."

"It's taken me a long time to figure this out: To not focus on the problem, but on the One bringing me through the problem."--Shared at Open Table

I learn best in conversations with people. So after watching Part One of the "Max on Life" video this morning, I looked around at 9 fascinating people. And boy, did I ever learn from Anthony, Betty, Carrie H., Clint, Judy, Toni, Kathy, Russell, and Carrie M.

It was the Thursday "Open Table" group. These friends know so much about Jesus and life lived his way. The video and the things shared weren't just good. They were off the charts!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jesus defined "missional living."

He didn't think in "summer missions" or "1-week mission trips" or "I'm-going-to-do-some-mission-work" terms.

It never occurred to him to announce, "I'm beginning my mission work." Yes, I know about his message in the Nazareth synagogue (Luke 4). But his announcement there didn't mark the beginning of his way of going about life. He had 30 years of missional living experience by then. It was love God and love people daily, perfectly, consistently, quietly, tangibly.

Mission was his life. Every step. Every word. Every smile. Every kindness. Every prayer. Every thought. Every tear.

That really came home to me while reading recently in John 7-8. Jesus repeatedly used the word "sent," in reference to the Father, as the "the One who sent Me" (cf. John 7:16, 18, 28, 29, 33; 8:29). Jesus lived the "sent-life." He woke up every morning on-mission. He never knew another way to do life. For Jesus, life was only about missional living.

So following him involves this perspective on life. To follow Jesus means living the "sent-life." It's going out everyday and intentionally staying on-mission.

Jesus summed it up like this for his followers: "Just as the Father sent me, I send you" (John 20:21, The Message).

So what would that look like?

For starters, Jeff Vanderstelt has a short video. It helped me consider how Jesus-followers could step deeper into the "sent-life" of Jesus. HERE.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"When It's All Been Said And Done" Lyrics

When I think about all of my moments, experiences, mess-ups, and failures, I remember the words of this song.*

You can hear Robin Mark sing it HERE. Words and music by Jim Cowan:

When it's all been said and done
There is just one thing that matters
Did I do my best to live for truth
Did I live my life for You
When it's all been said and done
All my treasures will mean nothing
Only what I've done for love's reward
Will stand the test of time

Lord Your mercy is so great
That You look beyond our weakness
And find purest gold in miry clay
Making sinners into saints

I will always sing Your praise
Here on earth and ever after
For You've shown me Heaven's my
True home

When it's all been said and done
You're my life when life is gone
Lord I'll live my life for You.
*The lyrics lead me to the toughest question ever.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Following Jesus (1)

"Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. 'Follow me and be my disciple,' Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him" (Mark 2:13-14).
When he offered the invitation to follow and be a disciple, Jesus wasn't looking for people who just wanted him to tinker with their lives or just be forgiven of sins, so they could go to heaven. Jesus wanted followers, who were willing to become like Jesus. They would let Jesus change everything: actions, activities, attitudes, priorities, dreams, habits, focus--everything!

And the deal is, Jesus has not down-sized the initial invite. There's no such thing as "Jesus-LITE", where he gives friendship and forgiveness to all of those who choose to be followers. Instead, the total package of Jesus-Life includes friendship and forgiveness, as well as an entirely new identity plus a radically different, Spirit-empowered way to live. His one and only, total package offer still stands. "Follow me and be my disciple"--Jesus.