How do we learn from Jesus when Jesus isn’t around?

FI Learn From Jesus 2

Be a follower of Jesus, we’re told. Learn from Jesus how to do life. Get to know Jesus. Sounds good right? But how do we do it?

Think of the people you know best. How did you get to know them? You shared experiences with them. You talked with them. You got to know them by how they treated you. You listened to them talk about their experiences.

That’s how relationship-building normally works, but how do we do this when Jesus isn’t physically, bodily sitting across the table from us at the coffee shop? Is it just learning more facts? Is it all about doctrine? Is it just fuzzy-headed thinking about being loved and accepted?

If we really want to be apprentices of Jesus, how are we to go about learning from him?

(note: This is a follow-up to the previous post. Hey Follower of Jesus, Do you know who you are really following?)

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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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