Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Round Here - The Normal Christian Life

I'm listening to Counting Crows "Round Here"...lots has been happening 'round here'. Here, is in Phoenix Arizona where we are exiting the season of Hell and are about the enter the season of Heaven. I realized it has been months since I last posted on this web and I asked myself why. I think one reason is that life and serving Jesus is hard. Being a Christ follower can be all consuming - should it be? I think so. I don't think we should neglect our families or friends to serve Jesus, but isn't the normal Christian life more than an hour on Saturday or Sunday with a bunch of other people who we don't really know? As I've thought much about the what the 'normal' Christian life might look like, I've come to settle that it must include an alligence to Jesus. That should entail putting aside some time to spend with him. How can I align with Him if I don't know what He stands for or wants me to stand for. I can only know that by spending time with Him. I spend time with Him by reading the Bible (His love letters to us), praying and sitting still long enough to hear His voice speaking to my heart. I also think that the normal Christian life must include spending time with others who are pursuing Jesus. I need to be encouraged by people, but I also need to encourage them. To many of my friends who claim to be Christians only go to church for what the church can give them (a good feeling when they leave, good music, a good entertaining talk, a good youth and children's program etc). I don't read much about this in New Testament. I need to go deeper with a few, to share my heart, hurts and hopes as well as listen to the heat, hurts and hopes of my friends. I need to share how I screw up at times and see how Christ followers listen, challange me, love me and lead me in the way everlasting. It is good to see humility walked out in my friends lives. I need to be with Chirst followers (Hebrews 13:3) . The normal Christian life must also include my sharing the great news of Christ with believers as I move around my town. I need to create space so that I can see needs and meet them. I need to be listening to the Spirit of Jesus inside me so I'll know when and what to say to folks who are in need of Him. Living Jesus is an art - it is a discipline - it isn't easy! The normal Christian life is one that overlays everything else I do in life. I mean when I do dinner with friends, being a Christian should be part of it. When I mow the yard or go looking for the dog I should realize that I'm a Christ follower. Too many times I go to the store without thinking that I'm an abassador of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19-21). The normal Christian life should have Jesus on the forefront of everything I do. Being a Christian is a way of life, not something I do when I'm suppose to be good or on Sunday's. It seems to me that the church must get away from the attractional aspect of worship services. The church is not about putting on a good quality show so that people will come back next week and bring their friends. Christ followers should be committed to Christ and the community of saints that He places them in. Their committment to a church shouldn't be based up on they feel or how good (or not so good) the service might have been (that smacks of comsumerism). How can we really life out Christianity if we are not in relationship with a few other believers for a long time. How can I be transparent with someone I see every other Sunday across the room? How can I be a strong influence on children or teens in my church if I don't have the context of 'time' with them? Why is church today measured by if I like it rather than being committed to Christ and these people because He has placed me here. I do think Christ moves people around to more effective, but certainly not like we see today. Living the normal Christian life with people for years is really, really messy. It will be boring at times. There will temptations to move on to something more exciting. I would lobby that the best times are those that come after choosing to stay and work through the boredom or apathy or anger that I might have with another. I think that is what Jesus would encourage me to do. I'm to love my neighbor as myself - I don't see me leaving me anytime soon! Alright, I thought this would be short and sweet but it is long and jumbled. I hope it helps in some small way. Pray for me to live out the normal Christian life with passion, committment and love.