Tagged: encouragement

Stop, imitate and listen…

What gets in the way of you being like Jesus to people who cross your path?

I believe this question needs to be asked daily. For some, we will need to pause and reflect on this in each moment as we interact with those around us. Out of all the questions that we hear being thrown around in Christian circles, I reckon this one should be taken fairly seriously.

Life gets busy, and before you know it we have spent more than half the day on auto, then all of a sudden weeks have passed and we stop and turn around and there is a trail of dead bodies behind us. People we have neglected. I know it sounds extreme, and your probably thinking I am being a bit to dramatic.

When I think about the question above, Ephesians 5;1-2 come to mind. We are to be imitators of God, walking in love, just as Christ loved. And with that word love I instantly think of the picture of kingdom love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

I would say I am a fairly patient person, especially when it comes to people. There is nothing I love more than catching up with people, engaging in conversation and growing in those relationships. But sometimes when I get task focused, I am like an arrow aiming straight for my target. I wont let anything or anyone get in the way of my destination. Recently I was on my way somewhere and I bumped into a friend who stopped to talk. I will be honest, for half the conversation I wasn’t present as I was thinking I need to go, I don’t have time for this and at what point can I keep on moving. I forced myself to stay in the moment and after he had left my wife said WOW, you did really good Dave. We both laughed, but it got me thinking about how driven I can be sometimes, so much that I neglect the thing that I say is really important to me.

In the gospels we see Jesus interacting with all kinds of people, and from all walks of life. Whether he was surrounded by crowds all wanting his attention,  individual’s seeking him out for one on one time or people who were outsiders desperate for help, one thing is for sure, Jesus lived and breathed that Corinthians love. From what we read,  people didn’t always walk away from him excited and I reckon he may have found some interactions challenging, but he never allowed anything to stop him reflecting God.

So what gets in the way of you loving others like Jesus does? For me its a lack of patience when people catch me in the middle of a mission to get somewhere. I promise, as we invest in answering this question honestly and practice being like Christ when interacting with others, we will not regret it.

Peace to you

 

 

There isn’t always a boat to step out of, but plenty of comfort zone to get your feet wet…

Christians don’t always ask to be called out like Peter did that early morning on the boat. And we shouldn’t wait to be invited to step out in faith

I have been challenged by the story in Matthew 14:22-31. The disciples had been out all night on the boat that Jesus had sent them on and it was nearly dawn. They started to freak out as they thought they saw a ghost walking on the water. Jesus tells them to relax, “it’s just me” he says. What happens next is pretty amazing! Peter, (who knows what was going on in his head) calls out and asks Jesus to invite him out on the water with him. Peter then starts to walk on the wet only to be spooked by the wind and starts to sink. He cries for help and he receives it.

It’s not the part where Peter deliberately asks Jesus to call him out, or even that he stops focusing on Christ which causes him to sink that has got me thinking. There is no boat but there is plenty of comfort zone, and I haven’t gone out of my way asking him to invite me out to the unknown, but the fact that I have chosen to take following Jesus seriously, means that he is continuously saying “come”. I have recently entered a new season in my life, one that I know is going to shake things up, challenge old scripts in my head and heart, and force me to dig deeper into the word. Even though I have experienced many different forks in the road during my faith journey, making the choice to step out of what I know (or what I think I know) has never been easy. Each new chapter has meant pain and celebration. Lets be honest, who intentionally likes to be spiritually stretched. But its part of the package, when Jesus calls us down from the tree (or wherever you were staying out of reach) we also have a new membership in his Gym.

If you have any desire to Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2), and have made daily choices to seek first the kingdom of God, then you know that during these times of self-examination, the holy spirit will make you aware of areas on your life that need to be exposed to the light, the stuff that gets in the way of you becoming more like Christ. Unfortunately  God doesn’t always directly say “that’s got to go”, which means we need to trust that Jesus is standing in the unknown waiting for us, and will reach out and grab us like he did with peter when he started to drown. Scary stuff!

I don’t have a 5 point plan to navigate through this new season I am walking through, but If  I remind myself of how God has provided for me over the years, and instead of being anxious, bring my prayers to him and continuously ask for wisdom,  God gives me fuel to keep moving and I have a new perspective. But of course this is only true for me;-)

So if you are in a similar situation, then I want to encourage you.  Its easier to stay in the same comfy space, and harder to get out of it later if you have made your home there. Don’t keep putting it off, make small choices to participate in the growing that God is doing in you. The fruit that is produced from this, will not only spur you on, it will also give others the strength to step out in faith as well.

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A time to climb

A dude climbs a tree to get the attention of a guy he must see, and he does so because maybe it’s the only way he can be seen.

It is Jesus that is passing through town, and not only does he acknowledge the short guy in the branches but he then invites himself to zacchaeus’s house to hang out.

In Luke 19:1-10 we read about a man who is a tax collector, a profession that would have no doubt made him a very lonely man. Oh he would have had plenty of cash to throw around, but it’s safe to say that his family would have been the only ones who may have benefited. He may as well of been a traitor to his people as long as he worked for the Romans.

Jesus sees zacchaeus and tells him to get down from the tree, but the reason for this request is not so Jesus can tell him off in front of the crowd for his dodgy career choice. 
Luke 19:5 NIV
[5] When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

Once again Jesus turns everything upside down and shows that grace has more power than the law. And it’s because of this interaction that Zacchaeus announces that not only will he give much of his wealth to the poor but he will repay anyone who he has ripped off..times 4. Wow, after all that I wonder how much this guy would have had left in his pockets?

What could we possibly learn from this story in the gospel?
•Sometimes we may have to go out of our way to see Christ
•Whether we recognize the darkness in ourselves or not, Jesus will still call out, but not to shame or rebuke our behavior
•Any experience had with Jesus will challenge the way we see things and will often leave us with a choice to do things differently

We may not be tax collectors but we certainly do, think and say things that are dodgy towards others and even ourselves. But Christ calls us like he did Zacchaeus, not because of who we are but because of who he is…and sometimes you will need to put yourself in a position where a dialogue can be had