Who Are You Becoming?

FINGERPRINTFacebook changed the layout on my profile the other day, and one of the things it does is make ‘notes’ you have written somewhat more prominent. Because of this, I found several notes I had written back in 2009 and earlier.

They were about topics like evolution, the environment, abortion, etc.

Here’s the fun part about these notes that I wrote: As I was reading them, I mostly disagreed with them.

That excites me so much.

Why? Because that means I am growing. I am changing. I’m not the same person I was 4, 5 , 6 years ago.

That’s a good thing, because I wasn’t perfect 4, 5 or 6 years ago. I had areas of my life that needed to change, and needed to grow.

I hope that 5 years from now, as I’m reading my tumblr/wordpress archive, I find some posts that I think are silly, just like I now think my facebook notes are silly.

Growth and change are so important to me because I know I’m not just like Jesus yet. In fact, I have a ways to go in order to get to that point. To be honest, I’ll probably never actually reach that goal. But I can grow closer than where I’m at now.

I find that my hard edge of theological rigor has been supplanted by humility and love.

I’m spending less time trying to be superior, and more time trying to be relatable.

I’ve learned that you can’t argue people into the kingdom of God, but you can love them into it.

Yesterday, I read this in Romans 2:4 (MSG) - “God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness, he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.”

I look back at my life and I see that I’m not the same that I was. I realize that I am becoming something other than I was. And that speaks to God in my life.

Because people rarely change, but when they do, it’s almost never on their own.

If I’m different, I believe it’s because I have invited God to be a part of my life. And he loves me enough to not leave me the same as he found me.

Please forgive me for all my imperfections, and in the areas where I am getting it wrong. Because the most important thing about me is is this:

I am becoming more like Jesus.

As you open your life to him, I know you are too.

The Complete Christian: An Oxymoron

I’ve heard people use the phrase ‘complete Christian’. He or she is a complete Christian. The idea being that they’ve put it all together and they are as close to being Jesus as they can possibly be. Personally, I think this is kind of silly. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 12 talks about how we are all parts of the same body. If I’m a toe, I may be the best toe that ever lived, but I’m still just a toe. I’m not a complete body. I can’t set off and do great things on my own.

I wonder what your Christianity looks like. I’m sure it has some things in common with my Christianity, but I hope it isn’t exactly the same. I say that, because I know I don’t have it all figured out.

I believe we’ve made Christianity the art/science of ‘having all the truth’ or ‘being right about everything’, when in reality, it’s designed to be a seekingafter the truth.

We’ve made it a destination, when it has always been a journey.

‘Christian’ isn’t something you are as much as it is always something you are striving to be.  The word Christian was originally a pejorative term meaning ‘Little Christs’.

God wants us to seek him, he says this repeatedly in the scriptures, and it’s pretty clear that while we won’t fully discover him on this side of eternity, we’re supposed to keep looking.

When we stop looking, we stop finding.

We seem to fear people coming to different conclusions within the same church - we think that having different conclusions will lead to division and church splits, so toeing the line becomes all important.

As a youth minister, one of my primary goals is not to teach my teens what to think, but rather how to think. I’d rather my kids find out what it is they actually believe instead of having me tell them what I want them to believe…and I believe that kind of attitude leaves room for the Holy Spirit to work!

This is my Christianity. Get your own.

Dying and Christianity

Jesus gives us some tough things to wrestle with sometimes. You want to be first? Make yourself last. (Matthew 20:16)

You want to lead? Start serving. (Mark 10:43)

You want to live? Learn how to die. (Luke 17:33)

I think the main message Jesus gives us in these teachings is that the Kingdom of Heaven, in many ways, functions the opposite of how this world is organized. Makes sense, seeing as how the person currently in charge of this world is the devil. (Ephesians 2:2; John 12:31)

I started wondering how I could tell whether I had died.

Then I recalled what Jesus says in John 12:24: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”

The way you can tell if a seed has died is this: there’s a ton of life growing where it used to be. Ever see a field of crops? Full of life, flowing with the wind, reaching high for the sunlight? Well that’s a field where seeds died.

The defining attribute of death in Christianity is the abundance of life.

Remember John 10:10 where Jesus says “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”? Well, look at the life the Holy Spirit has brought to the world. It’s there because Jesus died.

So I think that the way to tell if a Christian has died to themselves is when you see “life more abundant” in the place where it used to be just them. Is the Holy Spirit bringing joy and peace and love and patience? That’s because the anger and depression and hate and frustration that used to be all you had is gone. Because the old you died.

Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:43, talks about being planted in weakness, but raised in power. He’s talking about our current bodies versus our resurrection bodies, but I think it also applies to when we leave behind our carnal lives and instead allow the Holy Spirit to flow in us and through us.

Jesus, in his death, assured the defeat of Satan. In mine, I can be a part of his Kingdom expansion. Where there was once just me, soon there will be an abundance of life.