How to Kill Your Relationshiop

There are five ways to kill your relationship with Jesus, and they’re really simple…

1.     Comparison
2.     Comparison
3.     Comparison
4.     Comparison
5.     Comparison

I mean, I’m sure that there are other ways, but this seems to be one of the fastest ways that you can harm and damage your relationship with Jesus. We so often and so easily take our eyes off Jesus and who He is calling us to be and look around at what other people are becoming and try to do that.

And, this is one of the surest ways to kill, not only your spiritual growth, but also your relationship with Jesus. Your relationship is hampered, harmed and can even be cut off when you seek to become someone other than the person Jesus is shaping you into. The really dangerous part of this is that you can feel full of guilt and shame for not being someone else, when you were never designed to be someone else – God designed you to be you. And, here is a true, but radical thought – God actually likes you and the person He is shaping you into becoming. You don’t need to be someone else, but to embrace the person and the callings that God has for you.

But, we struggle with accepting who we are. And, while so many of us “know” this, it is truly hard to live this. We see other people’s giftings, inclinations or passions and wish we could be like them. I’ve seen this all over the church, and even in pastors; pastors who wish that they could speak like “so and so” or lead like “so and so” or pray like “so and so.” But, you aren’t called to be anyone else; you are called to be you.

And this applies to not only pastors, but also apostles too.

In the book of John, Peter is having a last conversation with Jesus, and what we find Him doing right as Jesus is directing him is this – comparing. He sees the beloved disciple following and says this, “What about him, Lord?”

Jesus response, I think, is needed for all of us. He says this essentially, “What does it matter the future I have for him? What is that to you? You, follow me.”

And, I think that’s good advice for all of us. What does it matter what someone else’s gifting or calling is. You be you and follow Jesus. Because the truth is, the world needs all of us – each unique, each simply focusing on following Jesus and not focusing on anyone else.

4 Books: 4 Questions ~ The Gospel of John, Mystics, Mystery, and Connections

mystic-water-1410939On Sunday we opened up the beautiful poetic, mystical, and masterful book of John. John is a beautiful book about deeply connecting and communing with Jesus. John is about fully becoming one with Jesus experiencing his joy and his connection. And John uses all of these metaphors to speak of it: being born again (John 3), having springs of living water (John 4), partaking the bread of life (John 6), connecting to the vine (John 15), being one with the divine life (John 17), and breathing the breathe of the divine (John 20).

John wants to push us past our normal expectations and to remind us that we can fully connect with Jesus.

And one of the phrases John uses is “eternal life”.

When we hear this verse we most often think of the future. We think of something that happens after death. We think of something that will happen out there, not right here and right now.

But in reality that’s not what the word means. Eternal life surely does mean life after death, but it also means life right here right now. Its about expierenicng life that lasts into the future but start right here in the present. And John wants us to accept Jesus so we can experience this life now, that lasts and lingers into the future. John is all about us fully experiencing life abundant right here right now. In fact, Jesus says that in John 10:10.

But because we think eternal life is about the future we miss what we can have in the present. A real life deep and boundary breaking experience with the risen Christ.

Eugene Peterson gets at this point well when he translates John 3:16 as, “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life” Anyone can have a whole and lasting life, now that leads to lasting life in the future but it starts today.

So what was the main point? Well its was simple – you can experience Jesus fully if you submit to him. That was it. Pure and simple. You can connect with Jesus. You can be changed by Jesus. You can have and experience that goes beyond what you think. You can be filled with living water, the bread of life, connected to the vine, breathing the breath of the Spirit. This is a possibility for all of us who want to follow and submit to Jesus.

So we ended not with more theology, because at a point all words break down. And we ended with practice. We ended with a traditional Christian practice for fully experiencing Jesus. We ended with communion, inviting all who want to experience Jesus to come forward. To have the bread of heaven, and the cup of salvation. To experience God in their present that lasts into the future. Because that’s’ what John is about. And may you experience Jesus in your life now, experiencing the life that is whole and lasts into the future. May you know the Spirit within you, and encounter the risen Christ in such a way that you are left changed.



Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: You can experience Jesus fully, if you submit to him. 

Teaching Points:

  • John’s about connecting and communing with Jesus
  • Eternal life is popularly understood about the future
  • This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. John 3:16
  • “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God”. St. Irenaeus
  • We cannot shrink the gospel to what we are comfortable with
  • But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. ‘For he has given them power to become the sons of God’ If then we have been made sons of god, we have also been made gods. St. Augustine
  • You can experience Jesus fully, if you submit to him.
  • if you submit to Jesus, if you accept him, you can experience him.

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? Had you ever thought about the gospels being different before? Are you comfortable with mystical experiences? Why do you think John believes they are so important? How have you connected and experienced Jesus in the past? How might you continue to experience him in the future and stay connected to him?

Challenge for the Week: Experience and connect with Jesus.

4 Books and 4 Questions

On Sunday we are starting a brand new series that will look at something both so utterly obvious and simple, but also controversial and challenging:

The gospels are different.

I know that’s so patently obvious to anyone who has read…well two of them. Mark is very different than John for example. And anyone who has ever read the gospels quickly notices differences and different perspectives. And some in the past have tried to “iron” out some of the differences. The problem is that the early church said that’s heresy.

We have 4 gospels told from different perspectives and we need all 4.

So come Sunday we are going to be introducing this series, and looking at the book of Matthew and asking this question: why are they different?

Because when we start to understand the different contexts, the different audiences, and the different questions the authors were trying to answer new insights leap off the page. So join us as we take a high level look at some of the most important 4 documents ever written.

4 Gospels