Are you doing Christian things or are you being a Jesus follower?

We tend to think of following Jesus as a list of “shoulds.”

We should go to church.

We should read our Bibles.

We should pray.

We should tell others about Jesus.

We should serve…

But, I don’t think Jesus came down from heaven to trade our sins for a list of things we should do for Him.

To Do List

He came so that we could have life to the full (John 10:10).

He came so that we could be transformed into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

He came so that we could be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16).

All of these things are about who we are in Christ, not what we should do for Him.

Take serving for example…that’s a good “Christian” thing to do.

serve

But, ask yourself this question…

Why do you serve?

(Why do you do any Christian things for that matter…this isn’t just about serving.)

Do you serve because that’s what you think you should do?

Or, do you serve because that’s who you are?

God created us to be servants, not do service.

So when you serve others…

Be a servant.

(Or, when you go to church…go as a Jesus-follower, not just a church-goer).

Because following Jesus is about who you should be, not what you should do.

Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.  Philippians 2:15 (NLT)

Is God worth your time?

Worship.

What is worship, anyway?

language-of-worship

We tend to think that worship is something you do in church, like when you’re singing.  And, maybe you don’t like to sing, so you’ve got this idea in your head that worship is lame.

Or maybe you think church is boring, so God must be boring too. And, who would want to spend time with a God like that anyway?

But, here’s the deal…

Worship isn’t just the stuff you do in church.

Worship is life.

It’s 24-7 putting God at the center of your life and giving Him control.

Worship is so much more than what happens in a building, because you can’t contain God in a building.

He’s everywhere all the time. And, He’s worth your time.

So, what if you stopped thinking that worship was just the “church part” of your life, and you made it all of your life?

What would that look like?

Think about it this way…

When you wake up in the morning, do you have to think to breathe?

Let’s assume the answer is “no.” Breathing happens naturally.

Worship can happen naturally too. And, it needs to happen; otherwise you will find yourself spiritually suffocating.

Think of worship like a spiritual form of breathing.  It can happen naturally.  But, it won’t happen if you don’t take the time to regularly spend time with God-talk to Him, get to know Him through His Word.

He’s worth your time.

ph_worship

12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. 

(Romans 12:1-2)

The Weight of Worry

weighed down

Worry is heavy…

It weighs down on you like a 500 pound rock (at least that’s what if feels like to me sometimes).

If you’re like me, the stuff you worry about is often beyond your control.

But, it’s not beyond God’s control…

And, one of the promises that I believe that we overlook when it comes to worry is the one found in I Corinthians 10:13.

Worry is temptation.

It’s lies from the father of lies.

But, God is faithful.

And He will show you a way out of worry so that you don’t have to carry it.

So, next time you find yourself being weighed down by worry, look for the way out, and give the weight of your worry to the only One strong enough to carry you through it (Philippians 4:6-7).

“27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”  (Jesus in Matthew 6:27)

3 Habits of a Healthy Jesus Follower

following-jesus

Habits.

We all have them.

Some habits are good…others are bad.

In many ways, our lives are defined by the habits we have.

Because, habits not only expose who we are today, they determine who we will be tomorrow.

If you’re a Jesus follower, chances are you have some habits that you’ve built into your life. 

You go to church.

You pray before meals.

You volunteer.

Don’t get me wrong, these are good habits.

But, let’s be honest…these habits alone won’t keep you following Jesus day in and day out.

There’s just got to be more to following Jesus than going to church on Sunday…

follow-me

If you are a Jesus follower (or if you want to be a Jesus follower), I’d like to suggest 3 habits that will keep you following Jesus every day. 

I’ll admit that these habits aren’t revolutionary or “new”…

But, if you’re like me, it’s good to be reminded of the basics.

So, here goes…

READ/LISTEN TO GOD’S WORD.

It’s hard to know how to follow Jesus in the every day if you don’t take time to read the one book that can help you do it the best.  And, in the age of technology we live in, there are lots of ways to “read” it.  If you don’t have a Bible handy, try using your smartphone or tablet (they’ll even read the Bible to you).

TALK TO GOD.

God has given us the gift of prayer so that we can communicate with Him 24/7.  But, don’t underestimate God’s ability to communicate with you through prayer too.  Make it a habit to talk to Him every day like you would a friend (and don’t forget to listen to what He has to say back to you).

CONFESS YOUR SIN.

When you sin (not “if”), stop what you’re doing and confess it to God.  The more you are willing to admit your sin to God and confess it to Him the moment it happens, the closer you will stay connected to Him. 

Don’t believe me?  Try waiting until Sunday to apologize to your spouse or sibling or friend when you’ve hurt them one of the other six days of the week.  It doesn’t work that way.

To be a Jesus follower means that you have to be close enough to Him to know where He is.  

In other words, you have to be connected to Him.

 

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  (John 15:4-5)

 

This post was inspired by my good friend and co-worker, Bob Lott.  Thank you for reminding me of these habits and showing me what it looks like to follow Jesus and stay connected to Him every day.

 

 

 

What’s stuck in your head today?

Admit it…

You get songs stuck in your head.

It may be a catchy tune from a TV commercial or a Top 40 hit or that favorite song from back in the day.

But, it happens…

We get that song stuck in our head, and we can’t get it out.

So, we sing it or hum it or even listen to it again…and it keeps on sticking in our head.

Like an endless loop…

circuitbrain

Here’s a thought…

The Bible is full of songs.

So, what if instead of getting “that song” stuck in your head, you got something like this stuck in your head?

 

In that day you will sing:
    “I will praise you, O Lord!
You were angry with me, but not any more.
    Now you comfort me.
See, God has come to save me.
    I will trust in him and not be afraid.
The Lord God is my strength and my song;
    he has given me victory.”

In that wonderful day you will sing:
    “Thank the Lord! Praise his name!
Tell the nations what he has done.
    Let them know how mighty he is!
Sing to the Lord, for he has done wonderful things.
    Make known his praise around the world.  (Isaiah 12:1-2, 4-5)

 

What if you had that looped in your head all day? 

Think it would change your perspective?

Think it would change what matters to you the most?

The fact of the matter is the more we fill our minds with God’s Word, the more we’re going to get it stuck in our heads.

So, what do you want stuck in your head today?