Archives For Jesus

…by Michael Switzer

Well, we all have stories and moments of happiness and sadness that shape our lives. Personally, I’m close to burn out maintaining so many expectations and components that I get into a rhythm of doing for the sake of completing. It takes a message like the one taught on Sunday to make me ask ‘am I juggling for the right reasons?’

 

I have so much to be thankful for but without constantly stepping back to reflect on the essence of my life’s actions, day to day tasks begin to look and feel meaningless. It’s the essence of our lives that gives color and meaning to our day to day tasks.

 

I think part of the reason for my near burn out (and I wonder if anyone resonates with this) is first and foremost not saying ‘no’ but secondly, I allow the things I say yes to define me and my ‘life story.’ No doubt they’re a major part of my story but they have become the reason for my existence.

 

The essence of our story should be unchanging while the situation, people, environment around us are in a constant state of flux. When we root our spirit in the here and now, tie it to our current situation and state of affairs, we run the high risk of meandering into a dull purposeless daily life. Founding ourselves in the essence of Jesus, tying our understanding and purpose of all the ancillary components of life to Him, and living life centered in His unchanging being places the good times and bad times of our stories in their proper place. Life is probably more freeing and less likely to approach burn out when we (I) don’t place so much attention and value on the ups and downs of our great stories and when we don’t allow pieces of our story to so deeply define us. I’m feeling a bit of a relief focusing on a unified vision with Jesus as the essence of my story rather than exerting so much energy trying to avoid pains and profit from happiness.

 

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…by Doug Gamble

If Jesus had not come the world would be dramatically different.  Sunday’s message contained an overwhelming amount of information that shows how our lives today would be different.  It is just simply true that Jesus has changed the world.  From hospitals to educational institutions to humanitarian organizations, Jesus has literally left his fingerprints everywhere.

And we are his hands and feet.

It is Jesus’ followers throughout the ages who have taken His mission seriously who have shaped this world.  They recognized that Jesus didn’t come to be served but to serve and so they followed suit.  And as they worked to spread His message of grace and truth they made the world a better place because they followed in His footsteps.

Their example really forces a question:  How am I following in His footsteps?  How am I bringing grace and truth to my world?  How am I helping to bring Heaven to earth?

This could mean getting involved in a local organization that is meeting needs.  It could mean sponsoring a child through Compassion International (http://www.compassion.com).  It could mean inviting a neighbor over for Christmas because you know they will be alone.

What you do is really dependent on who you are.  God has created you with unique strengths, skills and interests.  Consider them as you seek out places you can help leave the fingerprint of Jesus.  Most importantly do something.  Don’t wait for the perfect thing.  Do the next thing that you can do.

… by Larry McManus 

Hope is a key word for this message.  When hope fades, we feel overwhelmed.  The things that are really big seem insurmountable and the problems that are really small seem bigger.  Hope was lost in Luke 24:13-24, as something really big just happened – Jesus was crucified.  His disciples, who traveled the road to Emmaus, were overwhelmed with discouragment, sadness, confusion and disappointment.  We all go there at different times for different, but similiar, reasons.  No matter what the reasons, we have a Savior who will walk with us even as He did with these two disciples who were “downcast” about their loss of Jesus and all their dreams for Him.  Oh how easy it is for us to establish a vision in our minds of what we think should happen in life.  We may tell Jesus all about our hurts and never even look up to realize WHO it is we are talking to.  Jesus patiently lets us go on and on about our losses and disappointments and patiently waits to open our eyes to the greater truths.

“Thank You” to CeCe and Jim for sharing some of their story.  I think many including myself have felt like this from various types of losses and shattered dreams.  Just like these disciples, we often feel like we need to be “redeemed” from one thing, like Government oppressions,  and Jesus says there are deeper needs we have that He is redeeming in us.  Sometimes He “fixes” things the way we ask and sometimes He allows us to just engage Him in the midst of it all.  Jesus will give us peace and perspective that goes deeper than the depth of our circumstances. Hope gets restored when we take our eyes off the temporary and fix our gaze upon the Eternal.  So who or what are you hoping in?  Are you willing to let Jesus open your eyes to see things the way He sees them?  He can handle your dissapointments and even your anger towards Him.  Just be honest with Him and see if He doesn’t show up in a mighty and unexpected way!

… by Jo Anne Stas

I absolutely loved Greg’s story about his great-grandma in the airport! Not only was it funny but it left a lasting image in my mind about what it means to be “all in.” Picturing his great-grandma on the escalator with one foot going up and the other still on the ground, made me think how I, as a Christ follower, can sometimes have one foot in Christ-like endeavors and the other on my own agenda. I want to be involved in “Kingdom” causes, but at the same time, I want to keep doing my own thing. I try both, but what happens is that my attention or involvement on both sides ends up being only halfhearted. Inevitably, it causes an internal tension between my desires, and what I know Christ wants from me. The contradiction leaves me feeling like I failed at both endeavors and in a state of disillusionment.

 The problem wasn’t that one endeavor was good and the other was bad, the problem was I didn’t have full commitment to either. Paul writes in Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…” Christ wants us to be “all in” The answer to my disillusionment is so simple that I sometimes forget that all I need to do is exactly what Greg’s dad told his great-grandma to do on the escalator…”the other foot grandma.”