Saturday, March 31, 2012

GOOD MORNING!

The Duluth praise team begins our morning at our 2012 Disciples Retreat...

Friday, March 30, 2012

2012 DISCIPLES RETREAT

Our 2012 retreat has begun this evening with over 100 in attendance. We are praying for a challenging weekend...are we fans or followers?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

FAN OR FOLLOWER?

There is no shortage today of people who say they 'love Jesus.'  Throughout this country the masses gather on Sunday mornings in buildings to praise His name. They invite Him into their hearts and accept Him as their Savior. But not many people are willing to follow Him back out of those doors after the service.  Few will invite Him to be their Lord.

Some see this merely as an issue of semantics. These folks take the position that their 'belief' covers their soul before God. But we have to be honest. True beliefs have real and quantifiable affects. For a real 'belief' to reside merely in my minds eye...and to never find feet, is merely an illusion...a 'concept'...and idea.

For the most part, believing “in” Jesus has been morphed away from the scriptural description, and repackaged into a newer and less expensive 'discount' version...one that merely believes things “about” Jesus—that Jesus is divine, that he died for our sins, that he will come again to judge humanity and to establish his kingdom. But this kind of belief does not necessarily take the teachings of Jesus seriously. One can quite easily believe that Jesus is the Son of God and yet still live a self-centered life...pursuing all the same things as I was pursuing before adopting this new belief...chasing after the same material, financial, ideological and worldly things as the rest of the unbelieving world.  Many of us have never moved beyond the believing of Jesus, and embraced the believing IN Jesus. It is this simple distinction that separates the 'believer' from the 'disciple.'

We need to understand that this believing, loving, worshipping, and accepting Jesus is largely an internal experience, sometimes highly emotional, and it's rarely expressed outside of the corporate setting. But following Jesus is not merely an internal state. It's an engagement with the outside world in a tangible way.

“Why do you call me `Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I tell you?” Jesus once asked. (Luke 6:46)

Being a disciple is much different from simply believing of Christ. It involves much more than worship attendance, bible study, or church service. Admittedly, those are important parts of a Christian life. But they are merely food for the journey, not the journey itself. Hopefully they provide nourishment, not a detour.

Discipleship must result in people who lead a radically different type of life, who are counter-cultural, who are markedly different from the rest of the world. For Jesus calls us to transform the world! He calls us to spend our lives in the service of the least, the lost and the lonely. Serving in the body of Christ...a local congregation, is a great thing and has great biblical precedent. But being a disciple of Christ goes beyond serving in a local congregation.

The content of true discipleship is found outside of the walls of a church. It is found in our everyday lives...our work (where and why we work there), our families, our relationships. It profoundly defines our choices... our priorities, and the manifests of our passions. We internalize our beliefs, we live out our discipleship!

In a book called The Cost of Discipleship, Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer described the difference between “cheap grace” and “costly grace.” Cheap grace, he said, is grace without a commitment and response from the believer. It is grace without servanthood. Costly grace, said Bonhoeffer, moves us to respond to the call of Jesus.

Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard called the typical Christian response “admiring Christ instead of following Christ.”

The issue before us is whether we want to move from being admirers, and even worshippers, to being followers. If we want to take that step then the question is “What does it really mean to be a follower of Jesus today?"

Is Christianity a set of beliefs, or is it a way of life? If it is a way of life, what kind of life? Is it merely a set of moral rules, or is it an active participatory response to the world around us?

What does a life of faith, that is honest to Jesus, look like? Luke 6:40 tells us that to be a disciple we will more and more 'look like our teacher' in life and action. In order to do this, the bible calls upon us to 'die' to ourselves...our old life...even our personal dreams and aspirations, as well as loving Christ to such an extent, that all other relationships...even those of our blood family, are hatred in comparison. There is nothing 'light' or 'novice' about that!

We seem to have a real cultural aversion to 'immersion' into any ideology, unless it's sports or something that the current society holds in high esteem. We speak in terms of "all things in moderation."  And in that modern "all things gray" thinking, Christianity has been absorbed. But it was never that way until recently. And it was never that way in the Bible historically! Christianity...the real Christianity, was nothing short of radical! It was a radical commitment that cost many their very lives, including Christ Himself and nearly all of the apostles. Not to mention countless missionaries and sold out converts that lived the faith as nothing short of a revolution.

This is the bottom line: Christianity...as presented in the Bible, is the placing of Jesus as Lord of your life. We are to seek to "be like Jesus in every way possible." And Jesus...in example toward that goal, gave everything...every aspect of His love, His passions, His living and His dying. THAT'S Christianity. If you do not have that, you only have religion. And religion will simply not bring you to God...

Pastor TIM


Friday, March 16, 2012

2012 JFB DISCIPLESHIP RETREAT

We are all fired up for the upcoming retreat - March 30 - April 1. A weekend to communion with each other and with our God! We at JFB are firmly committed to personal growth and service to God's kingdom...so we gather regularly to learn, to share, to be challenged spiritually... vertically and horizonally. We want to do something with these new lives we have been given!

  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

2012 JFB MINISTRY COMMUNITY RETREAT


Our 2012 retreat for the ministry community here at JFB took place last weekend! It was a challenging gathering that we hope sets the tone for our endeavors over the next year. God is still teaching us stuff...so I guess that means we aren't finished! Thanks for your participation gang as well as your constant service to God, to JFB, and to me. I could not ask for a greater bunch of friends and I am honored to be a part of such a committed group! There is still much to do! Let's go get 'em...