Monday, January 25, 2010

Serving as Jesus Served

We are to live as Jesus lived and Love as Jesus loved. We must also serve as Jesus served. Jesus spent his ministry reaching out to people. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and forgave those caught in sin.

Jesus did not take a position of superiority, but instead was willing to take the role of a servant. Even hours before he would give His life for us, he took the form of a servant as He washed the disciples feet.

Let's face it, we live in a "me-first" society. When ever we decide what we are going to do in any situation, we tend to figure out "what's in it for me?" first. This is NOT the attitude of a servant. In order for us to serve as Jesus served, we need to stop worrying about "what's in it for us?" and start working on doing what Jesus would do.

This will not be easy. It isn't in our nature to put others first. But this is what we must do. You see, end the end, it isn't all about us, but instead, it is all about Him!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Loving as Jesus Loved

Can we really love as Jesus loved? Yes, but not as perfectly as Jesus did. will it be easy? No! But just because it won't be easy is no reason to stop trying. If we are to love like Jesus, we need to first look at how (and who) Jesus loved.

Jesus loved those that world didn't. He spent his time with those the world felt were unworthy. Jesus didn't come for the healthy, but for the sick--the sinners. If we are to love like Jesus, we need to make sure we are reaching out to those the world ignores--the unloved, unworthy, and neglected.

In order to reach out to these people we need to remember that we, too are sinners. Without Jesus, we are just as lost as they are. When we remember that, it should make it much easier to reach out to those around us that need Jesus. You know, if Jesus came today, I am pretty sure that we would be more likely to find in in a bar that in a church! Does that mean that we need to start barhopping for Jesus? Maybe! One thing I know for sure is that Jesus would never spend all of his time with those people that were "healthy," He would instead be seeking out those that needed His love and compassion. While I don't regularly hang out in the local tavern, maybe I should!

Jesus also loved practically. He healed the sick, encouraged the disheartened, and fed the hungry. If we are really loving as Jesus loved, we need to do the same. We are pretty good about helping people in times of crisis (think Haiti). But what about the widow down the street that needs help with her lawn or shoveling her sidewalk? We need to be aware of all that is happening around us and not go through life with blinders on. There are people all around us who need to see Jesus'love poured out through us.

The final group that we need to love as Jesus loved is the ones that are obviously guilty of sin. Think about the women caught in adultery. When she was brought before Jesus, He told the crowd that the one without sin should cast the first stone. The crowd left, no one was willing to make the claim that they were without sin. But Jesus WAS without sin and could have cast that stone, but instead he told the woman, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more." We need to realize that people who are caught in sin do not need us to cast stones, but to love them as Jesus loved them. This doesn't mean that we ignore the sin, but that we love the person so that they can receive the forgiveness that is available to them through Jesus.

Loving as Jesus loved is hard. But, loving as Jesus loved is the only way that we will ever be able to make a difference in our communities, our world, and even in our churches! Let us all resolve to do our best to not only live as Jesus lived, but to love as Jesus loved.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Living as Jesus Lived

This year I have a theme that will be embedded in all of my sermons, teaching, and life: to live as Jesus lived, to love as Jesus loved, and to serve as Jesus served. Yesterday we looked at what it means to live as Jesus lived. Now by this, I am not talking about following the Jewish law, but to use Jesus as the ultimate example of how to live out our Christian walk.

So, what does it mean to live as Jesus lived?
Philippians 2:5-8 says,
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!"

Humility and obedience are two of the characteristics of Jesus mentioned here. So for us to live like Jesus we must be both humble and obedient. Humble enough to do the tasks that we are called to do--especially when they are small tasks that may go unnoticed by others. Obedience involves learning to put God's tasks precedence over our own selfish desires. Humility and obedience go hand in hand. It is nearly impossible to do one without the other.

The final way we can learn to live as Jesus lived is to know the Word of God. When Jesus faced temptation, it was the Word of God that gave Him strength. Do we really think that if the Son of God relied on Scripture to overcome temptation that we have any better way to overcome temptation today? I'm afraid that if the Biblical illiteracy I see in churches today is any indication, it is no wonder that we have so many people who fail when faced with temptation!

There is more to living as Jesus lived than just these 3 things, but they will play out when we look at "loving as Jesus loved and serving as Jesus served." Let's just start with what we have so far and begin right now to live as Jesus lived!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Challenge for 2010

I have a challenge for everyone this year. Rather than making multiple resolutions that we may or may not keep, why not try this instead? Dedicate yourself to "live as Jesus lived, love as Jesus loved, and serve as Jesus served." I have a feeling that if we all did these three things, any resolutions we may have made will be taken care of!

How can we do this? Well, the first step is to follow a couple of Jesus commands: to love one another as Jesus loves us and to (as the Great Commission commands us) "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

If every Christian took those two commands to heart, what a change we would see! As we loved one another, petty fights and disagreements would disappear. Those in need would be helped. The lost would be actively sought out and loved into the kingdom. Instead of worrying about "what's in it for me?" we would ask, "What can I do for others?"

Let us all do our part to make 2010 the year we finally get busy with the work the Lord has for us and stop wasting time on the the things that don't matter!