Church

Tammy Taylor, Jen Hatmaker, & Jesus

interrupted

A few weeks ago, I logged onto Facebook the same second Jen Hatmaker posted about giving away advanced copies of her book, Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity, to people willing to read and write about it. You should know this about me: if I could be a person it would a combination of Tammy Taylor and Jen Hatmaker. [I know, right? Holy perfection.] So, I emailed the publishers immediately because duh. Let’s be clear, I follow her on Facebook, I read her blog, and I really loved her IF:Gathering talk, but I have never felt the desire to read any of her books. Not the one time. No offense, JH.

I did not really want to read this one to be totally honest. In my mind my life has already been sufficiently wrecked by my main man Jesus. [All I have to say about thinking that is GROSS.] However, this book is good, y’all. Really good. I described it to my husband as a Love Does but with scriptural backup and a church model. I want you to read it. Then I want you to talk about it with me.

Without telling you all the things [because I really do want you to read it yourself], Interrupted is the story of how Jesus turned Jen and her family’s life upside down and essentially wrecked it for the kingdom. It’s the story of living at the bottom so Jesus can teach you a thing or two about himself. It’s the story of taking Jesus seriously, like everything he says. It’s the story of going where God calls you, even when it sucks and you have no clue where you’re headed. It’s the story of a new way of living that reeks of Jesus. Ultimately it’s the story of a new way of doing church, that also reeks of Jesus.

If you really don’t like church (also insert frustrated with, over it, think it’s the dumbest thing on the planet Earth)

If you feel like the church [Christians] is/are missing the point

If you feel tension about all of the things

If you’re comfortable with the church [Christians]

If you love church [Christians] with all of your being

If you feel like the church [Christians] is/are nailing it

I recommend this book.

This book was a breath of fresh air to me. It made me long for something new, something different, something more for the church. It put words to my frustrations and the tension I so often feel between church, Christians, and Jesus. It also gave me hope that the church, Christians, can be good. Really good.

This book is a call to something bigger. It’s a call to daily live like the Jesus we all claim in our hearts. It’s a rally cry for the church, for Christians, to live on mission. It’s a wake up call. It’s a challenge for the church to be more about knowing their communities than they are about programs, Sunday services, and social media. It’s an invitation to get off your high horse, get over yourself, and run to the bottom because the bottom is where Jesus is. The bottom is where the work is being done. Kingdom work.

I’ll leave you with just one of my favorite quotes from Interrupted:

This is what God taught me through Judas at Jesus’ table, eating the broken bread that was His body: We don’t get to opt out of living on mission because we might not be appreciated. We’re not allowed to neglect the oppressed because we have reservations about their discernment. We cannot deny love because it might be despised or misunderstood. We can’t withhold social relief because we’re not convinced it will be perfectly managed. We can’t project our advantaged perspective onto struggling people and expect results available only to the privileged. Must we be wise? Absolutely. But doing nothing is a blatant sin of omission. Turning a blind eye to the bottom on the grounds of “unworthiness” is the antithesis of Jesus’ entire mission. How dare we? Most of us know nothing, nothing of the struggles of the poor. We erroneously think ourselves superior, and it is a wonder God would use us at all to minister to His beloved…. Our holy Savior advised us well: humans must treat the wheat and weeds the same. We are only qualified to administer mercy, not judgement, because we will pull up many a beautiful stalk of wheat, imagining him a weed.

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Yes and amen. Right?

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TIA Friday

I’m Courtney, the wife. Dustin lets me guest post on his blog when I need to process things. I’m a counselor so I use words like “process.”  In case it’s up for debate, I’m the emotional feeler of the relationship.

About this time in Uganda the radio would have been on and the radio host would have been repeatedly yelling, “IT’S FRIDAY UGANDAAAAA!!!!!” He would have yelled it before a song, after a song, and 20 times during a song. Oh, you mean you can’t tell what song is on the radio because I’m yelling at you about it being Friday? TIA.

I’m missing Africa today. I miss it every day but today my heart feels especially sad. This morning I wanted to wake up, crawl out of my mosquito net, go outside to use the hole in the ground bathroom, be greeted by crazy Mary and have her ask me in her creepiest voice, with her eyebrows moving up and down at a strange pace, “How were your dreams??” I wanted to sit outside, drink some tea, eat my banana, and listen to the radio. Tonight I wish I could come home, fill up a bucket of water to shower, eat some chapati and noodles with g-nut sauce, and sit around with Amos and William playing cards; and I want all of those activities taking place in the dark because the electricity has randomly gone out… again.

We’ve been home just about 2 weeks. 2 weeks is long enough to get over your jet lag, take your last malaria pill, put all your pictures up on facebook, find and remove a jigger, download “African Queen”, and talk about your trip with just about all of your friends. I’m finding that 2 weeks is also long enough to forget about taking cold showers out of a bucket, the fact that you were going to start appreciating electricity, the feel of babies snuggling in your arms, the fact the we have as much water as we could ever need at our access, and get back into the groove of things.

2 weeks is long enough to realize I’m having a hard time figuring out how to live here while having seen Africa.

This week was the first week of school. Last week I wanted to go buy 1 new back to school outfit. I went to Target and bought a new dress and a new pair of shoes for a grand total of $40. I got home and hung my dress up in my closet that is full and I put my new pair of shoes next to 15 other pairs of shoes. Then, secret confession, I sat down and cried in my closet. I wasn’t mad at myself for buying a new outfit. I only spent $40. I mean, come on, I could have gone to Nordstrom for goodness sake. (Disclaimer: I do not care if you shop at Nordstrom.) I just felt sad. My head was full of faces who only get 1 new pair of shoes every year and could never fill a closet full of their own clothes. I felt sad because there are people in this world who only get 1 new pair of shoes every year and for some reason I’m not one of them. I felt sad because they aren’t just people anymore, they’re my new sweet friends. They’re Vincent, Adolf, Sam, Margaret, Juliet, Ana, Ronald- the list could go on. A part of me felt sad because they’re my friends and I want them to be your friends too but the majority of you will never meet them. I want my friends in the states to hold fat, sweet baby Ana and snuggle with her. I want you to get pulled down a dirt hill on a paint tray sled by Vincent and Ronald. I want you to play tag with Adolf. I want you to hold Margaret and be scared every single time that she is going to pee on you. I want you to tickle Juliet until she can hardly breath from laughing so hard. I felt sad because I’m here, in Nashville, and I don’t feel like I can do anything about it, in Uganda.

Before we left for Uganda, I had given God a list of 5 things that I was willing to be passionate about after the trip. I hope that sentence sounds as ridiculous to you as it does to me as I write it. Those things were- adoption, HIV/aids, moving to a third world country, clean water, and Africa in general. Easy enough God, right? I prayed specifically that God would not call us to just be advocates in the states. God and I are kind of in a fight right now because I feel like he is calling us to do exactly that. Dustin and I both feel like God is saying stay here and share your stories. Stay here and share your passions. Stay here and challenge others. Stay here, but bring Africa with you. Don’t forget the people, what you saw, what you experienced, what you felt. Stay here but bring it all back with you.

2 weeks is long enough to know that we can’t make anybody fully understand Uganda. I know that unless you go there, you’ll have to wait to meet all of our friends in heaven. I know that it’s hard to care about a group of people you don’t know and issues that you’ve never seen. But I also know that God wants us to stay here and share our stories. So, share our stories we will and pray that God will use them in ways that we can’t.

The Simplicity of the Gospel

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March Madness is upon us.  I love basketball.  I grew up watching and playing basketball, and I still enjoy a competitive game every now and then.  For the first half of my life, my dad was a basketball coach.  Although he was never “officially” my coach, he was usually the loudest voice in the stands, and he always had something to say that would make me a better player. (For clarification, my dad was a real coach, but he never coached any of my teams.  He wasn’t just some old guy yelling in the stands)

Looking back on the coaching I received from my dad, I realized that he only taught me the boring stuff.

He never taught me how to dunk; he taught me how to make lay-ups (especially left-handed lay-ups like the one in the above picture).

He didn’t teach me the behind-the-back pass; he taught me how to bounce pass.

He didn’t teach me how to make three-pointers; he taught me how to make free throws (as seen below…statistically, I probably made that free throw).

He didn’t teach me how to be the leading scorer; he taught me how to play defense and keep my guy from scoring.

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My dad taught me to love the fundamentals – the basics – and I got good at those.  To this day, I love left-handed lay-ups, and my favorite shot is the mid-range jumper.

As Easter approaches, I think it is important to remember the simplicity of the Gospel.  Like bounce passes and mid-range jump shots, the Gospel can seem pretty boring – we sinned, God still loves us, Jesus died for us, party in heaven – as if we have been desensitized to its magnitude.

The apostle Paul writes, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7).

With all the sermons, podcasts, tweets, blogs, editorials, and opinions out there about the complexities of Christianity, I think it is important to remember and revisit the simplicity of the Gospel.

What does the Gospel mean to you?  How does it impact your daily life?

Battle

“Life’s a fight of wrong and right that’s tearing me apart. Oh, but what the cross has done. Yeah, the world will try to battle for my heart, but the war is already won.” -Chris August, “Battle”

Considering the majority of the people that I go to church with are (look like) musicians, they do a great job of picking songs that are relevant to the subject of the sermon. Typically, the songs before the sermon begin to frame the theme, but the song after the sermon usually hits the ball out of the park. I refer to this song as the “theme song,” but I recently found out that those walking in the hip circles call this song the “special.”

On that note, the above lyric was a part of the theme song last Sunday, where Pete introduced the new series discussing spiritual warfare. That’s right, spiritual warfare. The war in the spiritual realms. Angels vs. demons in a cage match over your heart.

At face value, a lot of believers have dismissed the presence of supernatural powers. Pete even said that approximately 65% of evangelical Christians do not believe in the devil anymore. Well, if we believe the Bible to be true, then we are grossly off course and ignorant of what’s actually going on around us.

One thing that stood out to me the most was that in the midst of this spiritual warfare, Jesus’ death on the cross has already won the battle for us (there’s the tie-in to the theme song…boom).

As my wife and I discussed this subject during lunch Monday at Chick-fil-A, which is a place shielded from any potential demonic forces, I figured it’s about time to revive this blog.

What are your thoughts about spiritual warfare?

Do you think that a supernatural forces like angels and demons are at work today like they were in the Bible?

Provocative Faith

I picked up a copy of Provocative Faith at a local used bookstore here in Nashville last week.  After reading two of Matthew Paul Turner’s other books, Churched and Hear No Evil, I jumped at the opportunity to read another.  As my luck would have it, not only was the book $.75, but it was also autographed.  It was as if I had stumbled upon a hidden goldmine in the Christian section of the store.

Turner is also the creator of the blog jesusneedsnewpr.net, and the thing that I appreciate most about his blog and his books is his honesty.  He tells it like it is, much to the chagrin of many people in the Christian community.  Not only is he open about his opinions regarding current issues facing Church today, but he is also open about his conservative Christian upbringing and how it shaped him into the man he is today.

In Provocative Faith, Turner tells what he has learned by developing an intimate relationship with God.  There were so many things that are worth sharing from this book, but there are three main things that I learned from reading this book (Plus, you should just buy a copy for yourself).

1. Expect a relationship with Christ to change your life.

Turner writes, “By the time I was in my mid-twenties, my faith in Jesus Christ had become more of a habit than a life-altering existence” (27).  This sentence jumped off the page at me, because it is something that I have struggled with for so many years.  In church, we tend to refer to this as “going through the motions,” and it is not exciting.  But when everything seems to click – that point where what’s habitual becomes life-altering – embrace it.  Run with it.

2. Develop a personal statement of faith.

Every organization has a mission statement.  It is something that guides their decisions and motivates them to perform.  Develop one for yourself, and see what happens.  Turner writes about a conversation that he had with a girl named Kendall Payne.  As she shares her story, she says, “My faith is no longer is the God I believe in; my faith rests solidly now in the God who is” (119).  In a few words, Kendall is able to define the cornerstone of her relationship with God.

3. Understand that God is always good.

This is a hard one because things don’t always seem good to us.  It’s easy to trust God when everything is just peachy in your life.  Turner writes, “Most of us are quick to say that Jesus is good.  But often his good and our expectations do not match.  So instead of trusting his ways to be perfect and good, we get angry with him for not responding” (57).  It’s easy to become frustrated by unmet expectations, especially when you were banking on God to come through for you in the clutch.

By developing an intimate relationship with God, you’ll be able to see that God is still good in those times; your expectations just weren’t in His plan.  By having a faith that God is good, it reduces your likely hood to cuss and shake your fists at Him when things don’t go your way.

The theme of this book can be summed up in one profound sentence: “I know that if the life of a Christian reflects anything close to what Jesus intends, the result is provocative, controversial, stimulating, and confrontational” (185).  It’s okay to have a provocative, controversial faith.  It sure beats a boring, stale one.

(Buy Provocative Faith.  It’s only 190 pages.  I don’t want to oversell it, but it will probably change your life.)

Unchurched

According to a USA Today article, 37% of Americans are “unchurched,” which is a significant increase from 1991 when that number was 24%.  As the article points out, Americans aren’t leaving the church because of an overall lack of faith in God, they are leaving the church because of an overall lack of faith in the Church.

While the number of unchurched Americans has increased, 67% of people still believe that God is an “all-knowing, all-powerful ruler,” which is a bold proclamation to begin with.  The number of people who simply believe in the existence of God is much higher.

Why is there such a chasm between those who believe in God and those who believe in the importance of His Church?

Nadine Epstein, editor and publisher of Moment magazine, said, “We live in an era where you pick and choose the part of the religion that makes sense to you.  And you can connect through culture and history in a meaningful way without necessarily religiously practicing.”

With more and more people dropping out of church today, it makes me wonder, “Whose fault is it?”

It’s rather obvious that the Church has had some public relations issues over the years.  In David Kinnaman’s book unChristian, he writes that the overwhelming public perception of Christians is that we are judgmental, hypocritical, too involved in politics, anti-homosexual, and sheltered.  Boom.  Roasted.

On the other hand, you can’t blame the Church for everything.  An interesting statistic from this article is that 40% of Americans attend a worship service, while only 15% attend Sunday School and 19% volunteer at church.

This shows that there’s no one to blame.  This shows that there is a problem – people aren’t getting connected with their church.  The fear of commitment that people have in dating relationships carries over into how they view church.  I’ll date around, but I’m not looking to be tied down.  If this church does something I don’t like, then I’m out.

A few weeks ago, our church had sign-ups for people to join community groups (small groups that meet outside of church), and one of our pastors said, “If you’re not involved in a community group at Cross Point, you probably won’t stick around more than 6 weeks.” Boom.  Roasted.

But why is that?  When you’re not deeply connected to a community of believers at church, it’s easy to leave.  Our church had more than 1,000 people sign up for community groups that Sunday, and no one forced them to sign up.  They chose to sign up.  Plenty of churches provide opportunities for people to get connected, but if you simply see church as an way to get “heavenly church credits” but sitting in a pew for an hour each week, then you’re missing out.  Eventually you’ll drop out of church altogether and wonder why your spiritual life is tepid and stale.

After taking the summer off, our community group picked back up last week, and as I thought about how we joined this community group the previous year I told my wife, “This marks the one year anniversary of the start of the best year of our lives.”  Over the past year, our lives and our marriage have been transformed by our community group, and this is something that we would have missed if we were just Sunday attenders at our church.

Yes, part of the problem is that people are selfish, and they want to build their churches and religions to fit their needs.  Yes, part of the problem is that some churches do stupid, embarrassing things.  But there is a solution.

How does your church encourage people to get connected?

The Question

“So, where do you go to church now?”

If you have ever switched churches or crossed over denominational lines, this question probably strikes fear in your heart.  I feel like it is a passive aggressive way of saying, “So, you don’t go to my church anymore.  Have you left the faith?  I’ll pray for you.”

Whenever someone from a previous church asks me about the church I currently attend, I always feel the need to respond and defend.  For instance, last Friday, I bumped into a family friend at dinner.  The small talk began, and he then asked, “So are y’all still going to [Such-n-such] Church of Christ?”  Obviously, he had no intentions of condemning me; he was simply curious.

“No, we go to Cross Point Community Church now,” I responded.  The conversation could have progressed on to another topic at that point, but I felt the need to explain and defend my current position.  I quickly continued, “We joined a community group there and we teach Sunday School to the first through third graders.  We just love it.”

To cover up the gigantic elephant in the room (that may not have even been there in the first place) about switching denominations, I gave a quick defense argument to justify the switch.  While crossing denominational lines seems like a small act, to some, it is up there with re-writing the Bible or ignoring the Constitution.  At one point in church history, nearly every church felt as if theirs was the only church that was getting into heaven.  The other denominations destined for the lake of fire with the rest of the non-Christians.

It wasn’t enough to beat the Baptists to heaven, but we also had to get out of church early enough to beat them all to lunch.  Raise your hand if you thought (or still feel) that way.  I would like to hope that very few people still feel this way, but you never know.

In college, I started attending a Baptist Church, and whenever I would go back home, people would ask me which church I attended in Abilene.  “Well, I actually go to Beltway BAPTIST!!!!!”  No, I didn’t speak in all caps, and I certainly didn’t yell my answer, but that is most likely how it was received.  You could have heard the communion cups snapping at the mention of a Baptist Church.

Damage control: “But the preacher is great.  He speaks straight from the Bible, and we even had 3 baptisms last week.”

Whew, that was a close one.

When my parents came to visit, I was very nervous about breaking the news to them that we would be going to a Baptist Church the following day.  “What time are the services at [Generic] Church of Christ tomorrow?”

“Well, uh….Actually…Er…We’re going to Beltway” (I omitted the Baptist part) “But Max Lucado is preaching tomorrow, so it will be great.”

Case closed.  Max Lucado to the rescue.  Upon hearing his name, the waters were stilled, and all was at rest.  Most of this awkwardness was probably unwarranted.  Yes, it was a different experience, but I could tell that my parents were pleased that I was going to church in the first place.  To my knowledge, the location/denomination was not an issue.  One Sunday at that Baptist Church, my Church of Christ grandmother (in her late 70s at the time) tugged at my arm during the worship time and said with a smile, “I don’t know any of these songs, but I really like the words.”

Have you ever had to confess that you switched denominations?

How was it received?

Five Blade Failure

I had to buy new razor blades this week.  I know this may come as a shock to most of you – “What?!?  He’s so manly, I assumed he shaved his face with a bowie knife.”  Sorry to disappoint you, but that is simply not the case.  My tender face can’t even handle a single blade, so a bowie knife is definitely out of the question.  I’m a three-blade gentleman, but I’m far too modest for the new five-blade razors, though.

However, I have always been intrigued by the concept of a five-blade razor.  Will it offer a smoother shave, or will it leave 5 slices along my jawline instead of 3 slices?  They also cost about $8 more, and I am not confident that the benefits of two extra blades will justify the added cost.

Luckily, in my 4-pack of three-bladed razors, I received a free sample of a five-blade razor.  It was like Christmas in July.  However, I was quickly disappointed.  I thought it would be better.  I simply couldn’t tell a difference with the two extra blades.  The 5-blade razor looks a lot cooler than my common 3-blade, but the overall performance was the same.

I’m sure your church has added some extra blades over the past few years.  Do you remember when your church graduated from those clear protector sheets to Powerpoint slides?  Did you almost have a heart attack the first time your church sang a song that was not in the hymnal? What about that time when some artist painted a portrait of Jesus while the congregation sang “Old Rugged Cross?”

At our church, we always have a special song that is sung following the sermon.  Growing up, we called this the “invitation song,” because it was your chance to come forward with prayer requests, big-time confessions, or desires to be baptized.  At our church in Nashville, I call it the “theme song,” because it is usually a cool song that helps connect the sermon to the artistic places in your heart.

Sometimes, these songs are in the Contemporary Christian genre, but other times these songs are “secular” (I can hear the Church Lady now).  It’s something different.  More blades to the razor.  Here’s a quick rundown of a few artists whose lyrics have bounced off the walls of our worship center: Katy Perry (Wow, speaking of secular.  Don’t worry, we didn’t sing the one about kissing girls), The Beatles (now we’re talking), Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum (representing Nashville, duh), and most recently Mumford & Sons.

I think that stuff is great, and I’m sure there’s some naysayers out there.  In life, and in the church, there is a tendency to “keep up with the Joneses.”  Part of this is to keep up with the times.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to crawl into a catacomb each Sunday like the First Century Christians.  I love the old hymns, but Chris Tomlin and Hillsong United have written some pretty legit stuff.

So the church adds blades to its razor.  Sometimes they flop, and they are simply not worth it, like the new 5-blade razors.

Other times they deliver the Truth of the Gospel in a different way impact people who would have otherwise remained on the sidelines.

What blades has your church added over the years?

Was it worth it?

Good Idea, Bad Idea: Evangelism

The following post was inspired by the sketch “Good Idea, Bad Idea” from the popular cartoon Animaniacs and my recent trip to Memphis.

There are two ways to approach evangelism: the good way and the bad way.  While there are several sub-categories of what makes your evangelism style good or bad, I will give you two examples of things that I witnessed last week while I was in Memphis.

Bad idea: Shout the Gospel on Beale Street.

Our first night, we ventured down to Beale Street.  I’m sure at one point, Beale Street was the exciting hub of the nightlife and live music scene in Memphis, but I was not impressed.  For instance, the paramedics had to bring out the stretcher to wheel off a drunk guy at 10:30.  For most, the party hadn’t even started yet.

As my wife and I walked along Beale Street dodging street vendors offering jello shots, glow sticks, and 40-ounce beers, I noticed an older man holding a sign on a 10-foot pole.  Curiosity kicked in, so we ventured over to get a closer look.  The 4-foot by 4-foot sign depicted Jesus being flogged by the Romans, and the writing called us to repent of our wickedness and sin.

I thought the guy was just going to stand there holding his sign, but after a few seconds he climbed atop his step stool, waved his Bible, and started shouting about our “demonic practices and Satanic rituals.”  Not only had this guy prepared by making a sign, but he also brought his step stool and memorized a sermon.  This guy was serious.

Naturally, I snapped a picture with my cell phone and sent it to the world via Twitter.  Hundreds of people passed by this guy, and I think that I was the only one who even cared to pay attention to him – not because I wanted to hear the message of salvation that comes through repentance, but because this humored me.

Good idea: Show Jesus to a stranger at Starbucks.

The next morning, while my wife and I were enjoying our breakfast sandwiches and cups of coffee from Starbucks, we noticed a middle-aged lady making the “walk of shame.”  You could tell by her slumped shoulders, glossy eyes, and discontent that the prior night was her enemy.  She crossed the street and settled down beneath an umbrella on the patio (I didn’t blame her, because it was already 90 degrees outside by 9:30 AM).

She was empty-handed.  No purse.  No phone.  No money.  She just sat there and waited for the minutes to pass more quickly.  As she sat, another fellow followed behind her and took a seat on the opposite side of the patio.  It seemed as if the prior night had been rough for him, to0.  Within seconds a Good Samaritan walked up and started talking to the woman for a few seconds.  He turned and began talking to the other man on the patio.  As they conversed, this Good Samaritan pulled out a sizable wad of cash, gave the man $10, and ushered him inside to get some breakfast.

The Good Samaritan then placed an order for two people.  He got his coffee and his breakfast sandwiches and walked outside to sit with the lady on the patio.  Not only did he buy her breakfast, but he also pulled up a chair, sat with her, and talked with her.

Did that guy talk to her about Jesus? Probably not.

Did that guy act like Jesus?  Yes.

Good idea.

Lord or Savior

I love technology. I’m currently sitting between the crafts and sporting good sections of Wal-Mart, and thanks to You Version, I just completed my daily Bible study about discipleship. (Insert a humble brag for doing a daily Bible study here.)

Today’s topic was about Jesus as Lord and Savior, and I came to some pretty eye-opening conclusions.

We love that Jesus is our Savior, but we sometimes resent the fact that he is Lord, too.

Over the past few weeks, our life group has been going through Francis Chan’s DVD series, “Basic.” It is a 3 DVD set discussing God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The one that has hit me the most so far was the lesson about following Jesus.

What does it look like to follow Jesus?

Well, how do you play follow the leader? Do everything the leader does. So, how do you follow Jesus?

It’s simple, but it’s not easy. Do I have to do everything Jesus did? How much do I have to do? Do I have to give people clothes and take care of widows and orphans?

I realized that I call myself a “Christ-follower,” but I don’t really play follow the leader very well. There’s plenty of things that I don’t do that Jesus did. How much better would my life be if I did follow Jesus? How would that affect the people around me?

As Christians, we embrace the idea that Jesus is our Savior, but we still have to follow our Lord. Historically, a lord had the power to tell others what to do. He was the man in charge.

I don’t always like for God to be in charge.

Save me. Let me go to Heaven, but I want to do my own thing here on earth. I follow Jesus’ “example” and try to live like him, but I struggle with giving him the power he deserves as Lord.

I need a Savior, but I don’t want a Lord. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Do you wrestle with this, too?