What’s Your Posture? What’s Jesus’?

1390296_18138490On Sunday we are talking about something really important but not often ever addressed. We are talking about posture.

And no I’m not talking about sitting up straight, or those type of things.

I’m talking about the posture we have to those around us.

Because here is the thing – most studies show that people like Jesus, but don’t like Christians. The question is why? Why do people like Jesus and not like his followers? And I think it has something to do with our posture, our stance, our way of relating to others around us.

So on Sunday I want to discover what Jesus’ posture to the world was, and what our posture to the world should be as well.

The question I have for us today is this: what is your current posture to the world? By that I mean how are you currently relating to those around you? Is it one of judgment? Is it one of separation? Is it one of accommodation? Is it something else?

I think it’s important to actually think through because so much of what we communicate to our family, friends and neighbors is unconscious. So what is your posture to the world around you? And better yet, what do you think our posture should be?

I’ll leave you with those two key questions that we’ll be exploring more in-depth on Sunday. But I’ll give you a hint I think our posture has something to do with the Hebrew word barak.

Have a great weekend!

Serving as the Path to Blessing

Minolta DSCOn Sunday we looked at how we are called to follow Jesus. We were exploring the posture, disposition, and attitude of an apprentice. Because doing the same things as Jesus won’t make us Jesus-like unless we have the same attitude as Jesus. So we discovered that the attitude of Jesus is one of self-sacrificial service.

Jesus commands his disciples to serve others (Mark 9:33-37), he also lays down a pattern for us to follow in John 13. Here he washes the disciples’ feet, sets an example, and gives up his position and privileges to serve. This is our model and this is our example.

I know what you might be thinking… “This is nothing new”. But the point isn’t whether or not this is new, but whether or not it is true. Because if it is true that the attitude of a follower of Jesus is service. If it is true that an apprentice of Jesus is to get rid of position, power, prestige, and privilege – then we are going to need to change how we live. Remember doing the same things as Jesus won’t make us Jesus-like unless we are doing them in the same manner as Jesus. Meaning unless we are serving, humbling ourselves, choosing the last position, giving away our rights, and wrapping a towel around our waist and washing someone’s feet ~ we aren’t truly following Jesus.

This is hard I know. Peter himself struggles with it, and he doesn’t want Jesus to wash his feet. But Jesus turns to him and says if you hold onto your ideas of privilege, position, and social standing you can’t be part of what I’m doing (John 13:8). If you don’t let me wash your feet, and then be a part of washing others’ feet – you are self-selecting out.

So yes this might not be a new teaching. But it is a true teaching. And that means it’s worth thinking about, but it’s even more worth acting on. The desert fathers say, “If you have a chest full of clothing and leave it for a long time it will rot inside. It is the same with the thoughts in our hearts. If we do not carry them out through physical action, after a long while, they will spoil and turn bad.”

So this week don’t think “loving thoughts”. Don’t just talk about the importance of serving. Get out there, get a bit dirty, and start serving like Jesus. Because Jesus ends his talk with his disciples reminding them this is what you are to do…and if you do, you will be walking in the path of blessing. Blessing for others and blessing for you…

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Service is the attitude of an apprentice

Take Aways…

  • Do you know the next step to grow with God?
  • If you have a chest full of clothing and leave it for a long time it will rot inside. It is the same with the thoughts in our hearts. If we do not carry them out through physical action, after a long while they will spoil and turn bad. Desert Fathers
  • Because we have so much…we forget who we are
  • We are called to serve everyone
  • Pride and position can stop us from looking like Jesus and following Jesus
  • Do you understand what I’ve done for you?
  • Jesus is giving us a pattern and an example of serving to follow
  • Serving is to be the attitude that shapes every action of an apprentice
  • If your life revolves only around you it will get small very quickly
  • Start serving and you will start changing lives Because you will be living life like Jesus

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you? What made you think? What made you laugh? What did you take away? How has someone serving you changed your life? When have you served and been blessed because of it? When do you struggle most with serving? What areas in your life could you step back and take “last place” rather than first? Who is God calling you to serve in your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers? How might you do it this week?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Talk about the importance of serving with your kids. Share with them how it brings you closer to God and to others. Ask them to brainstorm some places, or ways they would like to serve. Maybe go to a soup kitchen. Maybe plan to clean up a neighbors front yard, maybe shovel a driveway. And then go do it! Also be sure to notice and praise your kids when they take initiative in serving.

Challenge for this Week:

Go and serve

Why do Some Christians Look so Unlike Christ?

1302967_45228232On Sunday we are going to be looking at a classic question that has been discussed among ethicists for years. I know that might not get you leaping off your seat, but my guess is that this question you’ve experienced or had to answer. It is this: why do people who follow the same God live and act so differently? Why is it that some followers of Jesus live and look so much like him, and others…well don’t?

You might have encountered this phenomenon before. Maybe when watching the news and seen a “Christian” you say to yourself, “I don’t think we believe the same stuff”. Maybe when you hear of how a friend was treated in a church you say to them, “I don’t think that’s how Jesus would have acted.” how someone was treated. You’ve encountered how people can be following the same person, but live and look very different.

On Sunday we are going to explore why this happens, and more importantly how we live differently. If we are followers of Jesus we need to live and look like Jesus. The point though is that it is not enough to simply do the same actions that Jesus did. We need to do them in the same manner Jesus did. Stanley Hauerwas, a brilliant ethicist and theologian writes this:

No one can become virtuous merely by doing what virtuous people do. We can only be virtuous by doing what virtuous people do in the manner they do it.

That’s what we are discovering on Sunday, the manner in which Jesus’ actions occurred. We are going to be looking at what attitude should shape our actions as apprentices and followers of Jesus. Because the hope is that when your family, friends, and neighbors get to know you – you might start to remind them of Jesus in our actions, thoughts, words, and most of all…lives…

Perspectives Change Everything

Isn’t it amazing how two people can experience the same thing and interpret it differently? Isn’t it remarkable how different perspectives shape and change actions?

As with many of my posts – I’ve learned this from my son Hudson. Today we were going out to play at a park. And Hudson is now in the stage that he likes to dress himself. This is what he chose to wear: Shorts, T-Shirt and an owl toque worn backwards. With that, he decided to pare one rubber boot, and one of mommy’s shoes.

My first reaction, or perspective, was to tell him no, was to force him to change and wear something more normal. But then my attitude, and my perspective changed. What’s the harm in what he’s wearing? I can bring a pair of shoes for him to change into. And all of a sudden I had this thought, what would I be saying no to? Wouldn’t I be saying no to him being creative, independent, choosing, and being excited about his choices? Is this what I want to communicate to my son? Or do I want to give him a safe place to make choices, encourage his creativity, and empower his independence. One thing is clear, I think about things way too much.

But I think the point remains. The perspective you bring to any situation will shape that situation. How you see and frame what’s happening around you matters. I could force Hudson into my view of normal, or allow him to experiment and create. The difference is our perspective.

So today when situations arise, good or bad, as they always do, ask yourself what’s driving your decisions. What perspective is shaping your choice? Why do you feel the way you do and what is really driving your decision? And who knows you might end up changing your choice.

And in case you’re wondering, our backwards wearing hat, rubber booted, and “big shoed” little boy had a great time at the park. And so did I…