According to You!

screen

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!

Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 6 – Can I Ask You A Question?

IMG_1128

When you hear the words, “best friend,” who comes to mind? What emotions instantly invade your heart? What memories rush in, taking back to a different time?

There are not many things in this world that are better than true, deep, meaningful friendships. They fill our lives with love and laughter. They fill our schedules with unending activities. They dominate our time on the web through Facebook, twitter, etc. They rank high on our priority list and we value their thoughts and opinions.

But there are some times when well-meaning friends aren’t that helpful. There are some times when “that kind word” is better left unsaid.

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 6: Can I Ask You A Question?

                  So many times, well-meaning friends say things to people in the midst of their struggles that simply don’t help! They say things like, “Just let go and let God.” Or, “You know, God works all things for the good for those who love him.” Or even, “What do you think God is trying to teach you through this trial?” They think they are pointing the suffering person back to God but often they end up raising accusations, both against God and against their hurting friend.

                  Sometimes, there is nothing left to let go of. Sometimes, it isn’t God who is working in their situation and there is no apparent good to be found. Sometimes, we suffer at the hands of the Accuser. Sometimes, the only lesson to be taught is that we live in a broken and fallen world, where things are not as the Father desires for us.

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.

reckless_pursuit_book_cover

Have you ever answered, “Why?”

I often really struggle with the word, “Why?”

Years ago, when I was still pretty new at the whole parent thing, I couldn’t wait for my child to grow and advance to the next stage. I couldn’t wait to see him roll over…then crawl…then walk and talk. On and on it would go. One thing would be accomplished and then there was always the next thing to anxiously look forward to. Then it happened. The next stage came and I wasn’t at all sure that I was happy about it. In fact, I was pretty sure that I wasn’t. But I knew there was no going back.

My son had advanced from beginning to talk and say a few words to being able to verbally process information. He was beginning to learn about the world and he liked it. In his pursuit of gathering more information, he unfortunately became armed with that one terrible word…”Why?”

Everywhere we went, in all situations and as a part of every conversation, out came that word, “Why?” Sometimes it was sweet and innocent and my precious son would look up at me and say, “Why Daddy?” But other times there was a darker expression. One of rebellion and stubbornness and he would ask with every ounce of defiance he could muster, “But why?”

Now, as my third child is well into his 3’s, I am more prepared for this exchange but still do not care for it. There are some days that I simply don’t want to answer to question and I want to ask him back, “Why do you ask me why so much? Why do you want to know that? Why did you say that? Why? Why? Why?”

But there is another experience I have with this question, quite often. When asked from people who love me, who are leading me, who long to challenge me and see me grow, “Why?” becomes a transforming question. I’m immediately called to the deep places of my heart and pushed toward greater clarity and growth when I’m asked:

> “Why did you choose that?”

> “Why do you want that?”

> “Why are you pursuing that?”

When my wife or a close friend has to courage to ask these questions of me, I am at the same time challenged and deeply loved. In these moments, my motivations are made more clear and the noise in my heart quiets. I can see myself for what I currently am. And I can see the version of myself I desperately want to be.

So, I ask you, “Have you ever answered, ‘Why?’ Why do you believe in God? Why do you love God? Why do you go to church? Why are you involved in ministry? Why do you teach your kids to turn the other check? Why is a life of selflessness and sacrifice better? Why?”

I ask because I really want to know. I ask because I really believe the answers matter. I ask because I believe wrestling with these things can and will change your life. It can be the difference between the brokenness of religion and renewal of authentic relationship.

And so, I ask again, “Why are you a Jesus follower?”