Hey follower of Jesus, do you really know who you’re following?

FI Jesus Puzzle

You know some things about Jesus. I mean, you have a picture in your mind. A visual image, perhaps. A sense of what Jesus was like. How he treated people. His tone of voice, maybe. Certainly, the issues that he cared about most.

As a follower of Jesus that mental picture is vital to you. It probably motivates you. It may inform your decisions about politics, or vocation, or parenting.

Now stop for a moment. Have you ever really thought about where that picture came from? Where did you learn about Jesus?

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Read to Grow / Radically Normal (or Are you suffering from Spiritual Accomplishment Urgency Syndrome?)

FI Radically Normal

There’s a particular sickness you might have if you grew up in Church World1.  The sickness? Spiritual Accomplishment Urgency Syndrome. The symptoms often include:

  • You feel a need to be at all church activities. Even if you don’t go, you feel guilty about it.
  • You feel guilty because you don’t pray enough, or read the Bible enough.
  • You feel guilty because you haven’t taken on a new ministry role at church. (Maybe you’re even avoiding going to church because you don’t want to have the conversation about not being willing or ready to serve.)
  • You secretly believe that pastors, evangelists, Christian writers and musicians are a little bit more committed to their faith than other people. After all, they are the ones who really have gone “all in.”
  • You hate the idea of witnessing (it feels so invasive) but feel guitly for not doing it.
  • You doubt God’s care for you sometimes, and then feel guilty because of it.
  • You don’t pray at meals in public, but feel a little anxious and guilty because of it.
  • You’ve not read the latest powerful Christian book that everyone at church is reading, and you don’t really want to (and you feel a little guilty about it.)

Do you notice a theme? Are you feeling a little guilty about it?

There’s another way this illness manifests itself. For a season, you actually do all these things. You serve, and pray, and read, and give, and witness, and study, and you do it with all your might—and yet, when you catch a moment alone with your heart, you fear that God doesn’t really love you or accept you or forgive you.

This sickness is draining all the joy out of your life. It’s leading you away from a more engaged and intentional spiritual life.

In his book, Radically Normal: You Don’t have to live Crazy to follow Jesus, Josh Kelley (Website / Facebook / Twitter) tackles this sickness, and offers a perspective that may help you find healing and a much more meaningful, and enjoyable spiritual life.

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Don’t you worry. God is working it out.

FI Calling Out

This post is for just some of you. If you’re sailing along with everything working in your life, go ahead and skip this one. I’m glad for you. Really, I am! This post, however, probably won’t be helpful to you. Instead, let me recommend this for you.

Now, the rest of you?

This post is for you. Things aren’t working. Circumstances are painful. Maybe you’re trying hard to avoid making some hard decisions. In the middle of all of that, you might feel disconnected from God. The intercom is broken, like no one’s listening.

I am so there. Or at least I was. Then somethng happened at the post office, and then on Twitter, and then again at the breakfast table.

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Weekend Wisdom / When Your Plans Failing is the Best Thing For You

FI Index Weekend Wisdom

You don’t have to get your way. Did you know that?

When it seems like your plans are falling apart, when you’re in the middle of uncomfortable circumstances that are out of your control, have you considered that maybe–just maybe–your mess is exactly what God needs to brings about something new in your life?

This presentation at Bridge City Community Church is called “When Your Plans Failing is the Best Thing For You.”

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What if God wants your plans to fall apart?

FI Plans Crashing

I had plans. They were good plans, intended to bring good things about. Plans for my church, like how we could grow and become of great influence in our community. Plans for my family, how things needed to look for a comfortable and peaceful home life. Plans for my writing, so that I could reach more people, and maybe even start making some income! They were good plans. Sigh.

Then life, and circumstances and God didn’t cooperate with my plans. After depression and nearly burning out, I started growing emotionally and spiritually. I found myself questioning some of my motives and plans. Then my wife ran out of steam. She’d been carrying me emotionally for too long. She needed her own recovery. The plans I had for how my family ought to look disolved. Some wonderful, gifted, and impactful people moved on from our church. The plans I envisioned no longer seemed possible.

Even these last three months, my plans fell apart! Circumstances were out of my control. All my discretionary moments, the ones I had planned on using for writing, were called into service. No forward motion on my book. No forward motion on my online course. I couldn’t stay on top of my blogging schedule or my Facebook page. I felt like I fell off the rails.

This week I found an unexpected reminder that has entirely shifted my attitude. If you’re feeling like life and circumstances and God aren’t cooperating with you, maybe it will encourage you too.

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