Summer Teaching Series

Encounters with Jesus teaching slide

What do you expect from an encounter with Jesus?

Imagine for a moment that you’re moving through your normal day and you find yourself face to face with the one who is both Son of God and Son of Man. What’s your narrative? What happens next?

Do the clouds part and the light shine so bright that you can’t see? Does he teach, coach or correct? Does he tell you a story that is loaded with hidden meaning? Or does he ask you about the seemingly mundane parts of your life?

What do you expect from an encounter with Jesus?

A mountaintop experience unlike anything you have ever witnessed before? Maybe. Maybe that’s exactly what we should expect because an authentic encounter with Jesus will change us forever. It will shake us to our core. It will cause us to see our God, ourselves and our world with a completely new set of eyes.

Only thing is…these encounters often happen in the most unexpected places. In the moments when we are not prepared. In the moments that seem, well, unspiritual. They take place at the shopping mall, at a friend’s house, at work, at a party – really, anywhere life happens.

Question: If Jesus bumped into you on the street and offered to buy you a cup of coffee – what would happen next?

Join us at Journey this summer as we find out!

 

Shocking Math

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I’m not a math guy, never have been. Give me history or psychology any day over algebra! However, I don’t have to be an accountant to understand that the little “x” button on the calculator has more potential to impact a number than the larger “+” button.

Humor me a minute with the following example: If you start with number “20” and you hit the “+” button and the number “3,” you will end up with “23.” However, if you start with the number “20” and you hit the “x” button and the number “3,” you will end up with what? That’s right! You will end up with “60!” Oh, the power of multiplication.

So…what’s the point? Why this review of elementary math? What does this have to do with a blog that focuses on the life available to those to love and follow Jesus?

Shockingly Normal

The short answer is, “EVERYTHING!” Multiplication is the normal way of functioning in the kingdom of God. Think about the characteristics of God that have multiplied in your life. When love takes root, it isn’t simply added to one small component of your life. Instead, it expands almost endlessly. As you come to know the love of God, you transform to be able to offer that same love in endless and sometimes shocking ways.

Question: What if Jesus intends to multiply his kingdom through you the same way? What if your transformation isn’t simply about you? What if it’s also about a handful of people in your life who will be changed because Jesus has taken root in you? And what if your task in the kingdom is more than to simply “show them Jesus” but to model for them what it means to become like him?

What then? Won’t you be amazed by the multiplication of God’s nature in them? And won’t they burn inside themselves to share this change with those in their lives? As a result, the kingdom of God is quickly multiplied beyond your ability to count.

No Longer Theory

Last week, this scenario moved from theory to reality for me while I was attending a Nexus church planting conference. Author and church planter, Ralph Moore, spoke with us over a three day period and challenged a room full of church planters to move from addition to multiplication. As he taught, he told his story that included him personally planting 3 different churches. Over the years those 3 churches directly planted over 80 more churches. And – that’s right – those 80 churches have all together planted over 2,100 churches!

Shocking math is right!

Question is…are we ready to hit the little “x” button?

Ready for some football?

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And so it begins.

Another year of setting lineups and managing our pretend teams. Another year of hilarious rituals, memorized chants and victory celebrations. And, yes, another year of grown men dressing up in their favorite team’s colors as if we are participating in some weird seventeen week version of “grownup Halloween.”

Yes, it’s time to start another NFL season and I can’t wait to hear those all familiar words… “Are you ready for some football?!” How about you? You ready? How’s your team gonna do this year? Have you gone through the schedule? Have you picked your wins and loses? Have you circled the key dates? Tell me…are you ready?

Before the first kick-off tonight and all the high fives begin to be exchanged – can I ask something of us? For those of us who follow Jesus, I just have one request…CAN THIS YEAR BE DIFFERENT?

Can we participate in this passion of ours in view of who we are? Can we root for our team without cussing the refs, the other team or our own coaches and players? Can we celebrate a touchdown or a victory without being a pompous jerk to the guy with the other team’s colors on, sitting across the room? Can we honor the humanity of an opposing team’s injured player instead of excitedly anticipating how this might help our team win? Can we allow ourselves to be entertained and still value people over the entertainment?

You see, for all that we put into it, football is simply entertainment. It is some of the most gifted athletes coming together to perform for our enjoyment. So, enjoy it! Scream. Cheer. Yell until you’re hoarse. But remember the people. The athletes, coaches, refs, and fans – they are all people who have intrinsic value. Don’t miss this! See them. Consider their individual stories. Don’t check your identity at the door. Come on…I dare you…watch this year as a Jesus Follower and you’ll never be the same.

So, are you ready for some football?

10 Word “Christian” Reaction

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In 10 words or less, what’s your reaction when you hear the word “Christian?”

All of us – no matter who we are, where we come from or how we relate to God – we all have an immediate response to the word “Christian.” What comes to mind when you hear this word? What experiences influence your thoughts? Who are the people you see and remember? What is your overwhelming emotion?

I’m asking this, not to spark a rant or provoke a religious defense. I’m honestly not interested in either of these. Instead, I authentically want to know your personal experience and emotion. I’m up for it all. As long as it comes from your heart, this little experiment will be a journey worth taking.

So, here’s the challenge…

In 10 words or less, respond to this post and share your reaction to the word “Christian.”

Father’s Eyes

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How do I describe what I see when I look at this picture?

Beauty? Absolutely. Joy? For sure. Love? Friendship? Connection? Simplicity? Peace? Yes! All of that.

But for me, there’s so much more. I see my daughter who is turning into an amazing young woman right before my eyes. At once, I’m filled with pride, excitement and unbelievable satisfaction. I’m torn between the joy of the moment, the memory of what used to be and the immediate future of what’s to come. I have visions of the little girl who used to stare Button, our beautiful boxer, in the eyes when she stood up. And now, take a look, she has to get on her knees to get a hug from her buddy. Seeing this, I realize that when we have traveled the same distance again, I will be staring directly into the eyes of a grown young woman.

And I wonder…

What will I see then? More than that – what will you see then? Will you see beauty? Joy? Love? Friendship? Connection? Simplicity? Peace?

Will you see what God made her to be? Will you value her as he does? Will you fight for her freedom? Will you love her sacrificially?

When teaching us how to relate to each other, Jesus said: “So, in everything, do to others what you would have them do unto you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12.) So I can’t help but ask, how are we doing concerning the daughters of our world? On a scale of 1-10, how would you grade out on your treatment of beautiful young women in our culture?

Jesus would and has given everything for them. How about you?

 

Write an Amazon Review

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Reckless Pursuit hit Amazon last week and it’s gotten some chatter…over 11,000 people saw the announcement on Facebook. Pretty exciting stuff. But we’re just getting started and you can help!

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you’ve read Reckless Pursuit, click on this link – WRITE AN AMAZON REVIEW! It will take you to the book page of Amazon where you can rate Reckless Pursuit and write a quick review. It will only take 2 or 3 minutes and it will help to put this story of God’s relentless love in front of people who need to hear it. Thanks for helping to get the word out!

TAKE A LOOK: If you’re new to Reckless Pursuit, you can take a look at the Amazon author page at: amazon.com/author/landoncollard.

If you have any thoughts or questions, let me know – I’d love to hear from you! You can reply back to this blog, message me on Facebook or email me directly at: landon@journeycs.org. I look forward to hearing from you.

Reckless Pursuit @ Amazon!

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Today’s the day!!!

It’s been a year in the making but Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love is now widely available! It can easily be found at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. You can also walk in and order it by name at your local brick and mortar bookstore.

This past year, Reckless Pursuit‘s audience was limited to Journey Christian Community, our friends and people who discovered the book through Facebook. Today, we begin a great adventure. We can now begin to use this as a resource to share God’s reckless heart as seen through his pursuit of us.

For those of your who have already engaged Reckless Pursuit – JOIN US IN THE ADVENTURE! Here’s what you can do:

1. Amazon Review – Jump on Amazon and help to spread the word by writing a quick book review. A few sentences of how the book impacted you and your recommendations can go a long way toward getting this story of God’s love in other people’s hands.

2. Share It – Let your friends know! One of the most powerful influences we have access to is social media. What better way to use this influence than by sharing the unbelievable story of God? Share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, and everywhere you’re connected.

3. Like It – Join the Reckless Pursuit community! Go to the book’s website or to the book’s Facebook page and “like” the book. From there, we can share stories of God’s love changing our lives.

4. Hand It Off – Reckless Pursuit was written with our friends in mind. People who may not know the love of our God or who may have a skewed view of him because of their experience with religion. Grab a couple extra copies of the book and hand them off to your friends who need to see how crazy their Father is for them.

Jump in with us! We have an amazing story to tell. Let the adventure begin…

According to You!

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What’s your experience with Jesus?

Is it defined by church? By one hour a week in a clean, air-conditioned building? Is he someone you briefly acknowledge a couple of times a year – when the holidays come, school is out and the crowds verge on chaos?

Maybe he’s more than that for you. Maybe he is someone you have come to know. Someone you could talk about for hours; someone whose life you have studied and whose motives you have admired.

Possibly you find the question hard to answer. Could it be, you have multiple experiences that come together in a strange collage? Experiences with people who call themselves, “Christian.” Experiences in various worship gatherings we call, “Church.” And experiences with the “character” of Jesus, we find in the biblical text. I have to admit, reconciling these things has, at times, been difficult for me. The words, “Jesus, Christian,” & “Church” are not always appropriate synonyms.

In response, we can easily lose sight of the question. We can find ourselves struggling with things that honestly have nothing to do with Jesus. So, I ask the question again…

What’s your experience with Jesus?

Have you ever invited him to hang out with you on your day off? Have you ever sat with him in a local coffee shop? Or paddled down the river with him in a kayak? Have you ever shared with him your greatest dreams and fears over lunch?

Have you invited him into your home? Are you comfortable with him moving in? Is it OK if he wants to rearrange more than the furniture? Really…

What’s your experience with Jesus?

If you sat down with someone who had never heard his name, what would you say? What stories would you tell? Of his life? Of yours? How would you describe his heart and what he has done to yours?


At Journey, we have  started a new series entitled, “According to Mark.” It’s a look at the heart of Jesus through his life and mission as told by Mark. It’s not an abstract retelling of Jesus’ life. It is a life changing story written by someone whose life Jesus changed.

Take a look…pick up a Bible and spend an hour with the “Gospel of Mark.” As you read, ask:

1. What’s God’s heart in this story (as revealed by Jesus)?

2. How can I express his heart in the world around me?

No matter what your previous experience with Jesus has been – it will change. You will come to know him with new eyes. And his story just might begin to be told…

According to You!

What do you see?

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Have you ever really considered how you see the world? Why do you notice certain things and completely miss others? Why are you offended by some people and easily accept others by default? What causes your heart to leap in celebration? What moves you to tears? And why are these things different from some of the people around you?

It’s unbelievable how conditioned we are as people. The places we live, the parents we have, the teaching we receive and the experiences of our lives shape us deeply – often far beyond what we realize. These influences in our lives work to shape our reality. Our perception of the way things are and the way things ought to be.

What is amazing is how much of this happens below the surface. Beneath our awareness. It’s so easy to allow ourselves to simply drift through day-to-day, absorbing the ideas and values of our encounters and our culture.

But, what if we live aware, with our eyes wide open? What if we ask authentic questions about why things are the way they are? And what if we turn this vision on ourselves? To our own hearts? What would we find at the core? What have we allowed to become our center? To drive our hearts and our pursuits? What will we find there?

As a Jesus Follower, this has become a huge issue for me. You see, I want to really see! I want to experience the world with awareness and intentionality. I want to encounter people with the eyes of my God. To see them with the love and compassion he has for them. To ache for a world that is broken and to be moved to joy when they find life as it should be.

This kind of vision doesn’t come easily. It takes practice. It requires pursuing the heart of God that we find in Jesus. And it demands that when we find him, we stop and listen deeply. Authentically. Humbly. And invite him to uproot what we have known and who we have become. We will have to be honest with ourselves, often seeing our own lives and pursuits differently. It will change everything.

No, it’s not easy but wow…the indescribable beauty that is revealed when we have eyes that see!

Media Fast Follow Up

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At the first of February, I initiated a 40 day media fast. There were a lot of reasons for this. At Journey, we were in the middle of a several month vision discussion and I wanted to continue leading well. Kristen had started a new job and our family’s schedule was very full. And I had realized that my intentional one on one time with God wasn’t as consistent as I wanted it to be. In short, I felt the need to focus on God, draw close to him and quiet the distractions.

As I thought through how to prioritize my connection with the Father, I began to take an honest look at my life. I realized that I had developed habits with how I use my time. I began to notice that so much of my free time, a moment here or 15 minutes there, was spent on my phone using media in some way or another. I found myself checking Facebook a dozen times a day or more. When I came home from work, I would hit my Cowboys app and check out all the latest news from Big D. I would check this blog to see how many people had visited that day. I would check Journey’s Facebook and Reckless Pursuit’s Facebook. I would jump over to my ESPN app and see what I had missed that day. On and on it would go.

For years, I have arranged my life, reordered my schedule and even set up my office to prioritize people and relationships. It’s who I want to be and how I want to live. I felt like I was doing a fairly good job of that at work but I had begun to be less present at home – when I was off and could relax. I wasn’t engaging my family like I’d want to nor was I as connected with God as I needed to be.

So…40 days in the wilderness here I came! 40 days of no media. No TV. No talk radio. No apps of the phone. No internet. The only things I allow myself were talking on the phone, texting and emailing for work. After I cut those things out, I decided to take back media for the good. I added in Air1 radio, because it feeds my heart and I built a 40 day Bible reading plan into the notes app on my phone. Every day, when I had a free moment – instead of pulling up the Cowboys or Facebook – I would grab my phone and read scripture. When I came home, I would put my phone away and be present. I played with my kids. Sat on the kitchen counter and talked with Kristen while she cooked. Started reading Reckless Pursuit to my family and played games with them. It was amazing how much time I felt like I got back!

Everything wasn’t easy though. About 3 weeks in, there was struggle. I really wanted to just sit on the couch and relax – veg. I had gotten weary and longed for a break. For freedom from the discipline. The next week was hard. However, the last week or two of the fast was great. It was back to the earlier experience. I was present with my family and I was chasing God actively.

As I write this, I’m finished with the media fast but have come to live a bit different. I check Facebook a couple of times a day and hit my Cowboys app once or twice as well. But I am present both with people and with God. I can’t wait to initiate something like this again!