Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

 

AF40FDD5-6720-416B-9D88-2E450FCD8B13
A disciple applies discipline to his or her heart to become like his or her master, right? If we are a “hearty” Democrat or Republican, we discipline ourselves to represent these values. If we are a “hearty” fan of MLS soccer, we disciple ourselves to attend to all things MLS, we pick our team, wear their colors, and clear our schedules when they play.

This is interesting—we train our hearts to think and do as our priorities demand—we bend our wills to our heart’s desires. Every heart has a master—usually the owner. Though naturally self-determinate, the heart can be given away to a variety of masters—political parties, MLS, NFL, Mary Kay, greed, lust, power, mercy, love, or service.

Our hearts are undisciplined—going from thrill to thrill looking for fulfillment. The heart is filled with appetites—each an inclination toward obsession. We indulge an appetite and it becomes an addiction. Like Lays Potato Chips—“no one can eat just one!”

Before we go any further, let’s examine how people work. We have three elements at work in us: heart, mind, and spirit. The heart produces desires. The mind rationalizes our desires and makes plans to attain them. The spirit is our inner truth—a set of disciplines or rules for remaining true to our purpose in life. Our spirit admonishes or reprimands us when we break our principles. That voice that says, “You shouldn’t,” or “You should,” is your spirit. Spirits run from saint to sociopath.

If the heart is good, the thoughts and spirit are probably likewise. But, if the heart is undisciplined, it goes from appetite to appetite, chasing desires. This chaos becomes a discipline in itself, and this discipline becomes a “spirit.”

What’s a spirit? A spirit is what suggests or governs desires. We are a spirit unto ourselves—a sociopath’s spirit says, “There’s no one but me.” A typical person’s spirit adapts to the spirit of culture or whatever is trending. We are familiar with good and bad spirits—hopeful, depressed, expectant, disappointed, pessimistic, loving, hateful, etc.

Here’s the problem: Your heart doesn’t like to be told what to do. It is a spirit unto itself. Without a spirit’s interference, the heart is driven by pure desire. The ends justify the means. Your heart is a spirit that makes everything up as it goes along and relies on the mind to find a way to reconcile conflicts.

The Prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (17:9, NASV). This is practically the opposite of our culture’s spirit, which says, “Follow your heart—be your authentic self.” The heart is naturally self-centered and we typically discipline it to serve ourselves.  The heart always says, “I want—make me happy!” Your “authentic” spirit is selfish, and often foolish.

What spirit(s) are guiding you?

A wise person chooses a great and good spirit and becomes a disciple. He or she disciplines him or herself to listen closely to the spirit and be governed or “walk” in that particular spirit. A fool has no discernment when it comes to spirits. He or she does whatever feels good at the moment, without reference beyond self.

The saddest people in the world are those who know a good and great spirit, but live as a fool. They are plagued by regret, remorse, guilt because they are undisciplined.

For the life of TR8S I have tried to write about the spirit of Jesus and those who choose to be his disciples. This entry is clearly different from the previous. Before I used abstractions and analogies, here, I’m speaking concretely.

Today’s TR8 is obvious. Choose the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, as your spirit. Give yourself to Him because he is demonstrably the greatest and best of all who have walked on this planet. You’ll find His spirit in the Gospels and nudging at your heart if you listen closely. Jesus said, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6, NASV).

______________

TR8: Let the Spirit of Jesus guide you. Become His disciple and discipline yourself to His way.

Advertisements

Murphy, an Irish pub owner, is walking through Capernaum and bumps into a guy in front of Starbucks.

Murphy (carrying a load of books): Oops! ‘Scuse me.

Jesus (smiling): Murph! I’m Jesus, you’re Matt’s friend.

Murphy (smiling, too): Sure! I know you!

Jesus: No, you don’t.

Murphy (eyebrows raised): What?

Jesus: You DON’T know me.

Murphy: Matt says you’re God, the Messiah–you have disciples, a magic touch, high connections and stuff.

Jesus: All true, but you don’t know me. You make lists about objects. But people require revelation. For instance, what’s my favorite food?

Murphy: Figs?

Jesus: Nope, Ted Drew’s chocolate concretes in St. Louis.

Murphy: I didn’t understand a thing you just said.

Jesus: That’s because you don’t know me.

Murphy: What’s my favorite food?

Jesus: I don’t know, what?

Murphy: Ha! It’s shepherd’s pie! With a crunchy crust…

Jesus: Ah, you like crunchy crusty things…I’m going to make fried chicken and french fries for you and your family sometime.

Murphy: Mmm. Sounds good. How do you know I have a family?

Jesus: I know everything about you, but you haven’t revealed much to me. Let’s pop into Starbucks and talk.

Murphy: Okay. Please, it’s my treat, though.

Jesus: So, you like to give stuff to others?

Murphy: Yeah, I wish I had more to give away. People around here have so many needs. I feel blessed, but I worry about my neighbors. For instance, the Jacobson’s family–they were evicted last week, so they’re staying in my pub for now. Sad.

Jesus: I’m a giver, too. See that cut on your arm? Watch this.

(Jesus runs his finger along the cut and it disappears)

Murphy (drops his books at a booth): Whoa! Thanks, that was amazing! Wish I could do that!

Jesus (looking intently): Well, we’ll see. It’ll depend on if we’re compatible and can relate.

Murphy: I once knew a barber who could sew up cuts, but nothing like you do. He could also sing–the other three guys in his shop used to sing Egyptian tunes in four-part harmony–beautiful!

Jesus: You like music?

Murphy (excited): Oh, yeah, I sort of play the guitar. Mostly folk songs from Ireland–reminds me of home. You like music?

Jesus: As a matter of fact, I do. And, I like Irish music, too. Do you know Danny Boy?

Murphy: Sure! Can you sing?

Jesus: A little.

Murphy: I’d love to hear you sing. Maybe you could come to the pub some evening and we could try some tunes. Can you play anything?

Jesus: I mess around with a concertina that was Uncle Zebedee’s.

Murphy: James and John’s dad? I know them! John and I went to the same gymnasium. He’s a bit of a hot-head, but deep down he’s a thoughtful guy.

Jesus: Yeah, not many people see that in John, but they will. So, you look beyond the surface when you meet people?

Murphy: I guess so. I’m no saint, so I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I certainly can’t throw any stones…

Jesus: Interesting. I’m enjoying getting to know you Murph. We see a lot of things the same way–a kind of shared values thing.

Murphy: Yeah, I see we do. It’s like we’ve let each other in. I’m beginning to see what makes you tick and why everyone is drawn to you.

Jesus: Right. Me, too. You’ve revealed a lot about yourself just now. See, that’s what people do; they reveal and relate–or not. That’s how I decide who I decide to ask to follow me. Disciples–friends–mates–share values. ‘Seems the more folks are alike, the better they relate.

Murphy: 10-4. I read you. I guess I didn’t know you after all, but I know you better now and hope do this again.

Jesus: We will. Murphy, here’s something very important. Listen closely. I’m looking for friends like you who are looking for friends like me. AND, I am that I am. I’m GOD. I met Simon Aaronson, the scribe at the synagogue…I doubt we’ll ever be friends. Understand, I love him, but we have nothing in common, plus he’s a jerk around women and hates kids.

Murphy (looking down; somewhere between humble and afraid): Wow…  Lord, that makes perfect sense. Everyone builds relationships by revelation, right?

Jesus: Murphy, you are on the right track. I’ll have a tall Pike Place, black. I think we’re going to be good friends. Can I bring my guys around to the pub tonight?

________

Tr8: Want God to reveal himself to you? Reveal yourself to him and hope what you reveal draws him closer. The more like Jesus we become, the better the revelation.

 

pick_one

Murphy, the non-disciple, and his wife, Harpreet, have just settled in for the night–kids are in bed and sleeping. Ten feet away.

Harpreet (whispering): You’ve been talking a lot of Jesus who was executed recently.

Murhpy (whispering): Yeah, he’s back. Amazing. I think he’s God… (pause) I talked with him in Jerusalem last week. ‘Said, his way was THE WAY to live and know God.

Harpreet (louder, Murph puts a finger to her lips): God! (quieter) Sounds like India. We have gods by the bundle at home in Cambay. Which god do you think Jesus is?

Murph: Not a god–the god. How many of your family’s gods have risen from the dead and talked with you lately? Have you seen Buddha at the well this week? Jesus is the real deal.

Harpreet:  Hmm. Don’t all religions have the same end–nirvana, heaven, hope and peace with major helpings of health and prosperity? In India, we have–Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Krishna, Rama, Hanuman, and goddesses like Lakshmi, Durga, Kali and Saraswati–and that’s just getting started. We also have Buddha, who teaches noble truths and an eightfold path.

Murph: Yeah, Buddha had some good things to say about self-denial, but apart from a work-around on suffering, he left you with a wheel-of-life or oblivion. While some of his followers say he passed on nirvana to get people off the wheel–he didn’t do a Pentecost with wind and languages, right?  The other gods haven’t much to offer either.

Harpreet: Well, Jesus was different.

Murph: Jesus was, or is, different because he lived/lives as you’d imagine God would live if he were a human. He was awesomely god 24/7. You met him. I’ve been with his disciples for years.

Harpreet: Yes, such a caring man! He was the nicest person you ever brought into this house. The kids loved him.

Murph: See, you get it–you know him. For those who don’t, he not only lived truth and grace perfectly–he rose from the dead! He was too much for a grave to hold. He couldn’t not live–the Jews and the Romans couldn’t put him down. They got rid of him and he came back! Everybody in Jerusalem and Judea know this story. And it’s spreading. How embarrassing for the Temple dudes.

Harpreet: Well, that does put him in a class above all the other gods and religious leaders I’ve ever heard of. So, he can’t not live?

Murph: Yep. He can’t be stopped. Not only that, he told me that if I abided in him, I’d also be unstoppable. I believe him! No grave for me–I’ve hitched my cart to him and trust his word. Ultimately, I’ll be with him, wherever he is.

Harpreet: What about me? I, too, have met him. And after what you’ve said, I believe he’s God, too.

Murph: You repent and–his words, not mine–“Love God with all you have and love your neighbors as yourself.” Most of his group were baptized, some maybe twice, when they repented and put faith in God for forgiveness. John the Baptist baptized me before he was taken to prison and executed.

Harpreet: Well, I certainly repent of my sins and I know God’s forgiven me. Who’ll baptize me?

Murph: We’ll ask the disciples who should do it, but they’ll have trouble with you, not being a Jew and all. Barnabas might help us out. Right now it’s kind of a Jewish thing. Even so, they’ve heard all the different languages when the Holy Spirit descended. That ought to be a clue. They also saw how Jesus loved me even though I’m not a Jew or a disciple. Jesus told me to wait ’cause Peter was going to have a dream and us non-disicples were going to be allowed to join The Way.

Harpreet: I guess there are lots of gods and religions, but they all have different ends. Only Jesus gives me a personal relationship with God, his Father. My faith reveals truth and grace for application in my life. I never got that through faith in Hindu gods, Buddha or the sacred rocks and trees at home.

Murph (giving Harpreet a hug; she reciprocates): Our mutual faith increases our mutual love. Love you, honey. Have a good night’s sleep.

Tr8: Pick Jesus (see the Gospels).  Jesus offers unconditional love, unmerited forgiveness and comprehensive peace.

Homework: What do other religions offer? With whom do you wish to walk at the end of your journey? Moses, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Buddha, Maitreya, Caesar, Jesus, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, Yoda?

Jesus walks down to the lake after the disciples and 15 others lunch on a hot dog and a bag of sour cream and chives chips. Jesus reaches the shore and sees Judas sitting with his feet in the water. The other disciples are dunking and splashing each other. Jesus sits a little further up the bank and watches until John notices him.

John: Hey, Jesus!

Judas turns around and everyone stops and looks at Jesus.

Jesus (pointing at Peter) : For Pete’s sake, guys. You aren’t supposed to swim within 30 minutes after lunch.

Judas: Told you so.

Peter: (raises an eyebrow at Judas, smiles at Jesus): We’re practicing baptizing.

Jesus: Hmm. So how does it work?

Peter: Well, you get your hands wet and then make the sign of a cross on their foreheads.

A few near Peter nod.

John: No, you lean ’em back and then dunk ’em totally under water.

Andrew and a few others near John nod.

Judas: Doesn’t matter as long as you get water on ’em.

Everyone looks at him quizzically.

Jesus: What’d’ya think baptism means?

John: Like you told Nicodemus — it’s a new birth — a water birth. The old person goes into the water and a new one comes out. I guess it’s symbolic.

Peter: No, it’s not just symbolic. Baptism imparts real grace to people. You almost glowed when you were baptized. It’s God’s way of giving grace, which opens the way to eternal peace and redemption…I think.

Simon the Zealot: If you don’t get baptized, you can’t join a church can you?

Judas: It doesn’t really mean anything. At best it’s symbolic. It’s just plain water, isn’t it?

Everyone rolls their eyes. Peter splashes Judas.

Jesus: Hmm. You guys are all over the place on this. Andrew, what did the Baptizer tell you?

Andrew: Baptism was supposed to signify repentance and turning from sin.

Jesus: That’s good.

John: Yeah, the Baptizer said it signified turning from sin. After all, he baptized you, what’d it do for you?

Jesus (smiling): It pleased the Father. It was a special moment between the Father and me.

Judas: See, it doesn’t mean anything.

Everyone looks askance at Judas.

Jesus: Sorta right, Moneybags. What if I told you baptism means what you think it means? What if what you believe is what you get? Frankly, guys, it you believe it means nothing, your baptism means nothing. If you believe it’s part of the saving grace of the Father, it is. If you see nothing miraculous about it, nothing is. If you believe you’ve received a miracle, you have. Personally, I like baptisms.

John: So, what does it really mean?

Jesus (wading out): It means, if you like me, do it. Who wants to practice on me?

Tr8: Be baptized in faith, believing. Believe big in case it’s bigger than you think. God exceeds whatever we think.

Jesus is sitting with the disciples in Waffle House early one morning. Everyone is tired, but James and John just had to have waffles. So, they all went, packed into two cars. Murphy, the “13th” disciple came on his motorcycle.

Peter: Jesus, it’s late, but I need to tell you I did something I’m not proud of.

Jesus: I know, you ran a red light on the way here.

Peter: Well, that wasn’t what I was thinking about.

Jesus: You also had mean thoughts about Murphy.

Peter: Ouch! Sorry, Murph. You’re just so unlucky. But, that’s not it either.

Jesus: So, are we gonna sit here and play ‘guess my sin?’

Peter: No. I was the one who passed gas in the car, but didn’t claim it. I think everyone thought Bartholomew did it.

Bartholomew: See! I told you it wasn’t me.

Jesus: Guys, it should not surprise you at this point that I know all your sins. Right?

John (pouring blueberry syrup on his waffles): Yea. You know everything. Even about Peter. Glad I was in the other car.

Jesus: I even know what you are GOING to do wrong. For instance, Judas is going to undertip the waiter.

Judas: Uh-uh. I’m planning on tipping 20%.

Jesus (rolls his eyes): Truth is, I’ve already forgiven the sins you are going to commit.

Judas (surprised): Does that include me?

Jesus (gazing into Judas’ eyes): We’ll see. Those who love me will be loved.

Thomas: So you know that I’m…

Jesus (as Thomas empties the salt shaker): …going to dump out the salt shaker? Yeah. That was mean. Judas, tip 25%.

Murphy: So, when we pray for forgiveness, we’re only agreeing with what you already know.

Jesus (eyebrows raised): Yeah, Murph. That’s right. Well played.

Peter: I knew that. So, you’ve already forgiven us for what we haven’t, already, done yet.

Jesus: Yep. You guys are mine. In me, the price is paid in full. As long as you come back to me. You’ll be fine.

John (thoughtfully): As long as we come back to you. Cool. Are you going to eat the rest of your bacon?

Jesus: This is turkey bacon, and yes, I’m going to eat it and the rest of Nathaniel’s.

John (grabbing Jame’s last piece of bacon): That works for me.

Tr8: In Christ, the deal is done as long as you keep coming back to him.