Saturday, September 12, 2009

Taking Inventory: The Jesus Model

From this week's message, 6 September 2009
Pastor Gary Powell, Oasis Christ Fellowship

We think being in balance is the natural state, when actually, it isn't. It is only by the grace of God that we would ever spend even one day in balance. It takes close relationship with Him to ensure we don't lean too far to the left or right in any area...

So, a good place to start, a good barometer to use, might just be to use Jesus as your model. WWJD and all that. But seriously, isn't that why we call ourselves Christians - because we're trying to be more and more like Him everyday, in everyway? To simplify even further, if you had to take one way we should be like Jesus, the Great Commission offers a handy starting place:

"Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." - Matthew 28:18-20

Well, that's a tall order, so maybe we can look at and learn from some of the ways that Jesus went about making disciples of men.

1. He serving. There has been big buzz in the business world for years around the business philosophy of servant leadership. Essentially, in this model, leaders give priority to the needs of those they lead. Jesus modeled this behavior, and left it as an example for us to follow. Sure, we may not lay hands on blind men, and they'll see (then again, maybe we will); we might not have an opportunity to wash the feet of our friends (but perhaps, in our flip flop culture, we might want to revisit this custom.) But we can serve. We can be aware of needs, and we can meet them. Maybe it's not with money, because maybe you don't have a lot. Maybe it's a phone call. Or a pie. Or a ride. Or childcare. Or maybe, it's just being observant enough to know when someone needs prayer or encouragement. How might we impact our world if we just paid attention?

2. He teaching. The cool thing - well, one of many cool things - about Jesus: He didn't show up one day, just demanding that everyone follow Him and fall at His feet because He was, you know, God. He spent time with people. He lived among them. He taught them about the kingdom and how to disciple by example. And He understood that humans are thickheaded with lots and lots of different learning styles. Some learned through sermons; others, through parables; still others needed a lesson driven home with an application, like a healing or a demonic deliverance. There might be an opportunity in everyday living to teach disciples through your words, through your actions, through your (God-given) wisdom.

3. He loving. In John 13:35, Jesus reminds us that all men will know that we are His disciples if we love one another. Well sure. No problem. It's super easy to love other believers, all day, everyday. Riiight. So maybe we should ask for His help with this one. And maybe, when we're tempted not to love, or to call others out on their less-than-Jesus-like behavior...well, maybe just maybe we can think about when we've been unlovable...and when we were loved by others, and by God, regardless. This is important stuff, I think. Love is what makes the difference. Love is what so many people are searching for. Love and acceptance. To fill a void that they might not even know they have. Love instead of spewing hatred because someone stepped on our political toes. Love instead of griping when someone cuts us off. Love instead of dirty looks when someone that doesn't smell very good, or look very nice, comes too close. Love. Do you get that eternity is at stake? Seriously, how important will our present earthly circumstances really be 10,000 years from now?

So check your balance. Take an inventory. See how you measure up, and where you might need to commit anew to God. If you're anything like me, you can't go one day - sometimes even one hour - without calling out in prayer to focus and balance. It's a tall order, and we'll never make it in our own strength or wisdom. Good thing that we don't have to.