Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Confession, A Poem, and Following Jesus

It's complicated.  I get it.  I'm a pastor at a church, a specific church, that I love and have been with since its inception.  But I'm also a person, a Christ follower, with ideas and words and thoughts.  It's hard to distinguish between the two; it's hard for me; I'm sure it's hard for others.  Just a reminder that this blog is just mine, not my church's.  

Last week I watched a video in which Pastor Kyle Idleman apologized for when he has “sold” Jesus and the Gospel.  I relate to Kyle.  I also must confess that as a pastor/preacher/church leader, I have spoken of all the “benefits” of following Jesus, shared compelling words about the life, freedom, hope, and grace that is found in life with Jesus.  

But, that’s not the whole story.  

Fans of Jesus like hearing about all those feel-good things, but followers know that life and freedom come at a price—a price Jesus paid, and a price we pay every day.  It’s not all freedom and hope; it’s also sacrifice and humility.  Jesus came to give us life and life to the full, but what HE means by that and what WE mean by a "full life" are often two very different things.  Life with Jesus means some wonderful things like never being alone, but it also comes with suffering and sacrifice.  Jesus faced those things, and those of us who decide to follow Him will face them as well.

Following Jesus is not about making my life better; 
it’s not about my life at all,
except for laying it 

It’s about denying myself, not finding myself.
It’s about giving up my rights, not reaching my potential.

It’s about sacrifice, not success;
               suffering, not soaring.
It’s about obedience, not indulgence;
               righteousness, not happiness.
It’s about commitment, not convenience;
               faithfulness, not trendiness.

It’s about following, not leading.

It’s about Jesus.  
Just Jesus.
Only Jesus.


Not me,
Nor my spouse,
Nor my kids,
Nor my friends.