The Disciple Jesus Loved?

When you read through the book of John, you’ll see a specific individual referenced, but never by name…

“The disciple whom Jesus loved”.

Now, we know that this references the Apostle John, one of Jesus’ closest/best friends, but John never actually names himself… I wonder why that is? And we’ll get to that at the end, but think about it for a minute…

What a pretentious title to give yourself.

Imagine if I walked around calling myself “The citizen whom the president loved”. And not because he ever specifically said, “I love you most”, but because I believed that I was really loved by him.

You would think I was crazy, arrogant, and stuck up!

But that is not what John intended at all. Continue reading

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Suffering for Others

“Sufferings gladly borne for others convert more people than sermons.”
~ Therese of Lisieux

No one likes to suffer. That is the point behind almost every marketing style out there. “My product will make your life better” ie, make you suffer less stress/work/pain/etc…

But Christ does not call us to a life of comfort, he calls us to a life of sacrificing out of love for others. And sacrifice hurts, it is painful, it should cost us something, it causes us to suffer. If it doesn’t, then it’s really not sacrifice.

When was the last time you suffered for someone? When was the list time you did something for someone else that truly cost you something big (time, money, an item, or even your own flesh and blood)?

Why are we so resistant to give up a couple of hours of our time for someone, or to give up our “dining out budget” money for the month so someone else can have heat, or gas, or food?

Why are we so resistant to do these things?

Maybe it’s because we don’t truly understand the suffering that Christ bore for us. If we are called to be like Christ, then we need to remember that Christ gave up his own life for others (including you, including me), and we are called to do the same.

 

Deeper

Well, since this is my last blog post before Sunday, I want to fill you all in on a thing I am helping to launch called Deeper.

Have you been going to church for a while, maybe made some steps towards Christ, either getting to know him, or trying to know Him more, but just felt like something was missing? Felt like it was to shallow? Felt like you wanted to go deeper? Continue reading

Discipleship, Glory, and Family

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
John 19:26-27

“Here is your son, here is your mother.”  What just transpired here?  Jesus is dying and He commands that they should take care of each other.  Why did he take the time for this?  John son of Zebedee was Jesus’ cousin, so by the natural family patterns, it wouldn’t have been odd if he was the one to take care of Mary when Jesus was gone.  So why did He take the time to tell him, if that is the way it was supposed to be anyway?  There are many reasons: He wanted to make sure his mother was cared for, maybe to hold them accountable because everyone else was standing around and could see, and would now know that they need to take care of each other, but I think the biggest reason was to finish setting up that community He had started to build, that community of discipleship.  See, as a disciple of something, in this case Christ, you are to bring glory to what you follow.  So we as Disciples of Christ are to bring glory to Christ.  Jesus’ mother did this early on in John 2 when she brings to Jesus’ attention the lack of wine.  She says, “They are out of wine.”  She doesn’t ask him to do something, but yet, her request is implicit.  And Jesus answers, “It is not yet my time”.  But she, perhaps without realizing it because she probably did not understand what He was talking about when he was talking about it not being his time, she tells them to do whatever Jesus’ commanded.  In that way, she brought Jesus glory.  Another job of a disciple is to be close to the master, John being one of the closest.  At the last supper, John had the most prestigious seat, with his head by Jesus, that would be the position that put John leaning against Jesus, which more literally means “to be at his bosom.”  He was close to Jesus.  So what we see here is that Jesus forms that community of true disciples, by having the two who are probably the truest examples of what a disciple is, he starts building a generation of disciples, and this is the community that will support each other until the holy spirit comes.  This community becomes a family, and that is how we are to live our lives, as true disciples: bringing glory to Christ, and being close to him, and as true disciples, we are to live as a family.  “Here is your mother, here is your son.”

Knowing God

“We forfeit that birthright [intimacy with God] when we take folks through a discipleship program whereby they master any number of Christian precepts and miss the most important thing of all, the very thing for which we were created: intimacy with God. There are, after all, those troubling words Jesus spoke to those who were doing all the “right” things: “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you'” (Matt 7:23). Knowing God. That’s the point.”
~ John Eldredge, “Waking the Dead”, pg 96

What a powerful statement. When those who always “did the right thing” stood before God, He said “I never knew you”. We try so hard to be “Good Christians” we go to church every Sunday, we read this book, or that book, we play in the worship band, we serve on a church committee or volunteer in one of the ministries, because, that’s what good christians do, right? Continue reading

Preparing

Well, today I am speaking at Amplify Youth Group. I have been working on my sermon for like 3 weeks now, and I’m really excited to share, but I’m also really nervous. I’m going to be sharing some stuff from my life, and the number of people in the area who know about this time in my life will literally double, if not triple, so it’s a little scary…

If you could be sure to say a prayer for me tonight, that I would be able to speak with boldness, compassion, and that God would move through me, I would greatly appreciate it. I’ll resume my more “normal” style posts on thursday, I promise.