A Word About Life

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For those of us who follow Jesus…

– who long for a more authentic expression of life

– who reach for something more than religion

– who want our faith to be more than a belief system

– who submit to a God we have never seen

– who have experienced a change that is undeniable

– who recklessly follow the way of love…

For you, I want to remind you, encourage you and challenge you with a life altering word.

READY?

Here goes…

“It’s not about you!”

I know, this may startle you. It may sound harsh or cold or insensitive. It may bring up all kinds of arguments or theological rebuttals and if it does, that’s OK. But it’s true none-the-less.

Question: Have you ever paused long enough to move beyond dealing with what you were saved from in order to ask, “What was I saved for?”

Really, what’s the point of our freedom from brokenness, struggle, guilt, conflict and death? To move into healing, freedom, confidence, peace and life – right? But life for what?

Deep down, we know that this authentic expression of life is much deeper than what we find our dreams, our failures, our desires and our successes. When we have moments of clarity, we know that true life can be found in the midst of all of this. It obviously involves us but somehow, it’s not limited to our external experiences.

So what’s it really about? What’s this new life for? As we question, listen to the following simple truth from Jesus’ prayer in John 17:

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

You see, the further we follow Jesus, the clearer the view becomes. We begin to see life as it was intended, not as it has been twisted. As we encounter this truer life more and more, we see the one for whom life was made and for whom life was given. We see Jesus – the very heart of the Creator.

When our eyes are fixed clearly on him, we realize that he is the center of the story. It is about him. His love. His gifts. His dreams. His forgiveness. His hope for a new and better life – a life remade by him and a life defined by relationship with him.

We are brought from death to life so that he might wholly and completely know us and love us. This is his heart, his nature, his overwhelming passion – that he might be express himself fully to us, the object of his desire. That he might once again be free to shower his love on us.

It is in the midst of this love that everything changes for us. Our hearts are healed, our dreams are rebuilt, our pursuits are altered, our relationships are mended and our successes are redefined. And somewhere, throughout this transformation, it hits us. The truth of Jesus comes flooding our hearts demanding us to die so his life may fully take hold and the Spirit reminds us with the words of Christ himself, “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.”

It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s not about what we want or what we would choose. It’s about him and us being brought closer to him. Period. This is all that really matters.

Once we get this, the story changes. Our selfish pursuits become selfless offerings and instantly we are moved into partnership with our God. Moved into the front of his battle against what threatens to destroy his children. Moved to become extensions of the love of God. It is here that our gift of life finds full meaning.

What are we saved for? We are “Redeemed to Redeem!”

Take a look at the words of a new song we are singing at Journey, that was produced by Austin Stone Music:

Redeemed to Redeem 

We have come too far, beloved

Than to sway this path we tread

We have nothing else to boast

Than the cross where Jesus bled

CHORUS:

We’ve been redeemed to redeem the world around us

We have been loved to love one another

We’ve been pursued to pursue Your kingdom

Oh, oh, redeemed to redeem, oh oh redeemed to redeem

VERSE 2:

Yes we know what is to come

A home where men no longer thirst


For our souls were made to love
 oh nothing of this passing earth,

Oh nothing of this passing earth

BRIDGE:

To You our lives, we surrender now

Our hearts are Yours, we surrender now

All for Your name, we surrender now

Oh, oh redeemed to redeem

Oh, oh redeemed to redeem

Oh, oh, redeemed to redeem, oh oh redeemed to redeem

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Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 10 – Are You Still There?

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Do you remember the last time you sat in your grandfather’s lap? Do you remember the comfort of it? The joy of being engulfed in his arms?

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 10: Are You Still There?

                   Buddy is my grandfather. I have strong childhood memories of him because of our holiday vacations at my grandparent’s home each year. The unmistakable smell of his pipe as we entered their house. The recliner he was almost always found in, sitting as a king on his throne, watching sports. His flattop hair cut. His infectious laugh that shook his whole body, much like the image I had of Santa Claus. But my most enduring memory of Buddy is his gentle, loving spirit. This is what drew me to him the most. He completely enjoyed just about any interaction he could have with the grandkids. He would turn his hands into a pretend man named “Tom Walker” and walk his forefinger and middle finger after us – which would send us, for some unexplainable reason, running into the next room. He would take turns asking one of us, “Do you know how Josh eats corn?” And then proceed to clamp his powerful hand down on a leg, just above the knee and squeeze; resulting in uncontrollable laughing and squealing. While we were still small enough, he would grab us up, put both of our ankles in one of his hands, turn us upside-down and tickle us with the other hand. This would instantly cause us to flop around like a trout dangling from the end of a fishing pole.

                   And then, there was the awe and wonder of his magic hands. He could make money appear from behind my ear! And more than that, he could put his hands together, pull on his finger and make the first knuckle completely separate. There would be a full inch of air in the middle of his finger. Then he would put it back and it would be normal again! 

Oh, the magic of childhood! Could there be a life available that is constantly that alive? That free? That exciting?

Reckless Pursuit is currently being prepared for publishing. It will be made available to the public early this fall. Keep coming back here for more updates and teasers.

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