Are you a Jesus-consumer or a Jesus-follower?

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The crowds loved Jesus.

Every day, He’d pull off another miracle…

He’d heal sick people, cast out demons, bring people back from the dead.

And, the people loved it.

One day, He even fed thousands of them with only five loaves of bread and two fish.

Life was good.

You could watch Jesus do His thing AND get free food.

But Jesus never was into the crowds as much as they were into Him.

At one point, He even calls them out in John 6…

“…you want to be with me because I fed you…”  (John 6:26)

Jesus knew that the crowds just wanted to be entertained with His miracles…

They didn’t want to follow Him.

They were just consumed with what He could do for them.

Later on in the story, most of the crowd showed their true colors and walked away from Jesus…

“At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.”  (John 6:66)

Apparently, He wasn’t entertaining enough for them any more.

Have you ever really thought about why you want to be with Jesus?

Is it just for the next miracle He might pull off…the next entertaining thing He might do?

Or just for the free stuff you might get out of it?

(The truth here is that Jesus’ miracles are still happening today, and His salvation is still offered to us as a free gift…but there’s more to following Jesus than just being entertained by Him and getting free stuff.)

So, why do you want to be with Jesus?

Jesus-consumers want to be with Jesus for the entertainment, feel-good value.

Jesus-consumers want to be with Jesus for the free perks of the relationship.

Jesus-consumers want to be with Jesus for what’s in it for them.

On the other hand…

Jesus-followers want to be with Jesus not primarily for what He does for them, but for who He is.

Jesus-followers want to be with Jesus, because they understand the amount of love it took for Him to pay the huge cost of their sin.

Jesus-followers want to be with Jesus, because they know no one else can save them from themselves.

Which one are you?

 

66 At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.67 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”

68 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.[a]

John 6:66-69

 

 

 

 

Letting go of the weights of life

The other day I read about a guy who dead-lifted over 1000 lbs (500 kg).

And, then he passed out and almost died.

Apparently, there are limits to a man’s physical strength…even for a guy who can lift more weight than anyone else in the world…

It seems you can only lift and carry so much weight before it will kill you.

Which got me thinking…

Life is a lot like that.

We can only lift and carry so much “weight” in our lives before it will ultimately kill us.

The weight of worry.

The weight of fear.

The weight of expectations.

The weight of addiction.

The weight of comparison.

The weight of perfection.

The weight of peer pressure.

The weight of self-pity.

The weight of performance.

The weight of fitting in.

The good news is that you don’t have to lift and carry all that weight around.

The good news is that there is a God who is far stronger than any man…yes even stronger than that guy who dead-lifted 1000 lbs.

And, He wants to take that load off your back today.

Question is…will you let it go and choose to trust in His strength and not your own?

 

“…God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.”  I Corinthians 1:25b

“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”  Ephesians 6:10

 

 

What will you overcome today because God’s gracious hand is on you?

It was a total disaster.

The city of Jerusalem was in ruins.

It’s temple…the main place of worship…had been torn down.

The wall that protected the city was one long heap of rubble.

Jerusalem was a mess.

Then two people decided to do something about it.

Two men believed that God could use them to rebuild the temple and the wall.

The city of Jerusalem could be great again.

And, all it needed was people like Ezra and Nehemiah…people who believed that God was big enough to change the hearts and minds of kings, and do great things.

What do you believe God is big enough to do in your life?

What great things can He help you overcome?

What will you overcome today because God’s gracious hand is on you?

 

27 Praise the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who made the king want to beautify the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem! 28 And praise him for demonstrating such unfailing love to me by honoring me before the king, his council, and all his mighty nobles! I felt encouraged because the gracious hand of the Lord my God was on me. And I gathered some of the leaders of Israel to return with me to Jerusalem.  (Ezra 7:27-28)

 

The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?”

With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”  And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me.  (Nehemiah 2:4-5 & 8b)

 

 

You can’t…God can.

“That’s impossible.”

“I can’t.”

“I don’t know what to do.”

Every day, we face new challenges.

Some of them are more personal…

They come in the form of difficult relationships, sickness, a lack of time, a lack of money, weariness, bad choices, losing a close friend or family member…

Other challenges we face impact lots of people…

They come in the form of Hurricane Matthew, a broken political system, racism, gender debates, terrorist activity, oppressive governments, disease…

Chances are good that you are facing some kind of challenge right now.

And, it feels impossible.

You think you can’t do anything about it.

You don’t even know where to start.

What is it for you right now that seems impossible?

What do you feel like you can’t do?

What is it that’s leaving you feeling overwhelmed or helpless?

Name it.

Call it out.

And, give it to God.

He is the God of the impossible…you are not.  (Luke 1:37)

He is the God who can do what you can’t do.  (Ephesians 3:20)

He is the God who gives you wisdom when you don’t know what to do.  (James 1:5)

And, He is the God who gives you grace when you need it the most…

 

16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.  (Hebrews 4:16)