Last week I spent some time praying with a group of folks from a church near us. Among their prayers was that on Easter Sunday they would be able to reach some of those who show up at church only on Easter and/or Christmas. This is more or less (probably more less than more) my attempt at the same thing.
I am an unabashed follower of Jesus Christ. I tend to shy away from the term “Christian” because so many who wear that label have added a lot of things not of God to societies understanding of what Christianity is. Frankly, if I were outside looking in, and what I saw was what most “outside” see, I would not be interested in the God that is so often portrayed. The Bible tells us God is love, but that seems to get lost in all the anger, rules, hatred, legalism, and separatism that so many of His followers think is necessary. Yes, there is right and wrong, but following of those is supposed to be a result of our love for God – a love that can only flow from a relationship. Rules don’t make anyone better, and not doing certain things does not make us good. Those who know the “rules” better than they know Jesus have missed the point, and the blessing.
To me, being a follower of Jesus is far more than just having “eternal fire insurance”. Yes, I do believe those who don’t choose Him will regret it for eternity, but I’d be doing exactly what I am doing, both publicly and privately even if someone could convince me that “all are saved”.*Following Him benefits me so much more than just in the “sweet by and by” – I am blessed, strengthened and enlightened daily. What’s more, I can say without any doubt, that the fantastic bride I have, the incredible marriage I enjoy, and the wonderful life I live are all a result of having Him in my life. Without Him my marriage would be a mess because both of us would be to broken and too selfish to have a good marriage.
If you don’t know Him, please believe me that you should. If you avoid Him because of the behaviour of His followers, please accept my apologies, and please don’t judge Him by those who claim to follow Him but are not getting it right. If you follow Him at a distance, please get closer, you will be glad you did.
Want to know Him better? Want to know what it means to know and follow Him? Pick up a Bible (I would suggest NIV or NKJV) and start reading. My suggestion would be to start with the Gospel of John and keep reading. Let His Spirit speak to you as you read.
Okay, end of sermon – check out the great links below.
*I’ve had several folks try to convince me of that everyone will go to heaven. I’ve studied all the arguments, and I can’t find a way that it can be true if what the Bible says is true.
Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:
Do You Think Your Wife is the Problem? Think Again: Found this great quest post in The Marry Blogger archives. Why women response the way they do, and what you, as a husband can do about it. But be warned, no punches are pulled here – for example “Often times, when a husband has brought wounding to the marriage, he would rather apologize and move on instead of living in repentance to God and “walking with a limp” before his wife.”
For A Better Sex Life, Do This: Also on The Marry Blogger, Stu suggests that removing the TV from your bedroom will improve your sex life. I think this is true for many couples, but I had to add a dissenting opinion in the comments.
Marital Gridlock And Growing Up: A follow up to a post I listed here last week. “First, lets reinforce the belief that marriage is indeed designed to grow us up into better people. It’s not about happiness, or completion, or stability – it’s about growth.” I continue to dislike this idea – even though it is true in my experience, and seems both valid and correct. I strongly recommend you follow Corey’s blog, Simple Marriage, but only if you have the guts to face your own selfishness!
Why You Want a Debt-Free Marriage: A great post on Simple Marriage – with money being a major part of marital arguments and many divorces, being debt free makes a lot of scene for a couple.
Help Me Help You: “The trip to the altar with my beloved did not make me instantly privy to all his sexual wants, needs and desires. Nor did it make him privy to mine.” If your bride is unwilling to talk about sex, maybe this post from Intimacy In Marriage will show her why sexual communication is needed.
One Question That Could Save Your Marriage: Project Happily Ever After has an exceptional post on how a question is better than a complaint. This one is a must read in my book
Are Grudges Holding Your Marriage Back?: Great post on Lifegems 4 Marriage about grudges and how to deal with them before they hurt your marriage.
The Grace Barrier: I’m big on grace, and this post by Gina Parris is excellent.