Jesus called humanity to follow Him. When it first started he called fishermen and tax collectors. Now he calls business men and college students. His calling hasn’t changed, just the context out of which he calls us. Understanding Jesus call in our everyday lives is of absolute importance if we want to be His disciple.
I’ve been writing this blog for several years now and my audience has changed over the years. I want you to know that I really appreciate you taking the time to read this blog. I want to encourage you and speak a language that resonates in your everyday life. The best way for me to do that is by knowing who you are. Could you take a few moments to take this survey? Thanks!
Steve (a.k.a. – MartyrPriest).
PS – If I can get 25 respondents to the survey I will share the story of how and why this blog is named MartyrPriest.
Is faster always better? Think about that for a minute before moving on…
I can reheat a piece of pizza in the microwave in thirty seconds. If I were to use my toaster oven to reheat that same piece of pizza it would certainly take longer. So is my toaster oven obsolete? NO WAY! If I want a nice crispy piece of reheated pizza it’s worth waiting for the toaster oven to work its magic. I never found a microwave that was able to retain the crispiness factor of anything!
Sometimes, before we even know it, we’ve sacrificed quality for speed. The real tragedy is this happens in our spiritual lives as much as it does in our culinary lives. Take Bible reading as an example. When is the last time you focused on one single verse for more than the time it took you to read it?
Or a singe word.
We need to take a cue from my toaster oven because sometimes it’s worth the wait. Thinking over a passage of scripture is a really valuable exercise. Considering it from different angles. Pausing on one word at a time until we have heard from our Creator in every possible way.
Sometimes speed is good. Better something than nothing. But don’t enslave yourself to speed otherwise a convenience will become an entrapment.
Here are some suggestions to get you moving in the slower direction.
Take your reading plan to the next level by reading the same passage for seven consecutive days. (I know this will drive you box checkers mad!). When we do this we are seeking quality over quantity. We are expecting the Bible to speak to us more than once and in more than one way. We are recognizing that the depth of Scripture deserves our attention as much as its breadth.
Read. Each. Word. Of. A. Verse. As. If. It. Were. Followed. By. A. Period. God chose every word of the Bible. Each word communicates something to the reader. By pausing and reflecting on each new word you encounter you open up a storehouse of new ways for God to work in your heart and life.
Commit to write out three verses of Scripture on an index card each day for a week. The difference between an email and a love letter does not need to be explained. Taking time to write out Scripture focuses us and slows us down. It helps us bring more of our senses into the exercise of internalizing the Scripture on which we are focused.
Toaster Oven’s might be quaint. They may or may not make a comeback. But they can still serve to remind us that some things are worth waiting for.
Is it easy or difficult for you to slow the pace at which you read Scripture?
Does reading less Scripture make you feel more guilty? Why or why not?
Do you have any methods or suggestions for the rest of us on how to read Scripture slowly?
Growing up, I was sure a monster lived in the dark recesses of my closet…yet in the day time he seemed to be nowhere in sight.
Walking out to the car in a dimly lit parking lot late at night sends a flash of fear deep into the heart of even the most stalwart of office managers…but walking to the car for lunch break is no problem.
The faithful dental assistant who shows up before the sun to “open up” feels the icy clutches of the dark office reaching out at her…yet the moment a co-worker shows up the fear dissipates.
No one likes being alone in the dark.
Yet imagine living in an inescapable darkness. Perpetual ink black darkness always surrounds you. What terror! The Bible tells us this is what it was like before Jesus Christ came. All of humanity was forced to live in darkness on the border of the “valley of death” (Matthew 4:16).
Sounds pretty bad…BUT…when Jesus came they saw a great light!
The beauty of the story of Jesus is that he came to free us from the fear of darkness. He brought hope into hopelessness. Peace into turmoil. Light into darkness.
I have been rescued from the fear of darkness..have you?
People around us are still afraid of the dark. They fear the darkness in their heart. They question their existence. They desperately fear that what’s in the closet is about to jump out and overwhelm them. They need to hear that Jesus came to bring them out of the dark. That Jesus is a great light, able to bring peace, hope, and life.
Jesus brought light into the darkness…..how are we helping people see the light?
Christmas is a vivid reminder to the world that Jesus did in fact come.
Jesus, having the ability to meet our deepest need and hearing the command of God, came down to earth and took on human form. He became flesh and “moved into the neighborhood”.
Having heard the call of God and having acted in obedience Jesus went on to secure for the world the opportunity to relationship with God the Father.
This Christmas as you exchange gifts, spend time with family and reflect on another year gone by may you also consider the profound truth that Jesus came.
And as you reflect may you come to see that this action of Christ’s coming is not just something to be admired by His followers but something to be emulated. We, who are children of God, are called to enter into this same world that Jesus entered in order to bring the same hope Jesus himself brought. This hope is the truth that “the world might be saved through Jesus”.
My prayer for all you this Christmas is that you would rediscover Jesus as the one who came and the one who sends. That this Christmas you would not only find Jesus but take Jesus to a world the Father still desperately loves.
Sometimes I fear that Jesus would have been voted off his own reality television show.
Jesus was never really concerned with popularity. Am I?
Jesus did not call his disciples to popularity he called them to die. This is the heart of discipleship. To be a disciple is to be a follower. To follow Jesus means to take the path of suffering and death. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
How do you make the concept of death and suffering pop? How do we make these ideas sizzle? Do inmates on death row have swagger?
We live in a culture that worships success. It is said that if something is to be “successful” it must “sell itself. But death does not sell itself. It cannot. We cannot make the life of Christ into something sexy. Something attractive for attractions sake. No. The first thing the would be follower of Jesus Christ is confronted with is the absolute and total command of Jesus Christ to die to everything but Jesus Himself.
The call to discipleship is a lonely call. Is a hard call. Is an absurd call. It’s the call to die. So will you follow Jesus when it’s not that popular? Will you follow him to the cross? Will you continue to live out, in the mundane and difficult moments of life, the calling of Jesus. Will you follow him even without the accolades?
Jesus is not looking for a marketing team, for men and women who can make Christianity sizzle. He is looking for followers who are willing to die in order to experience life to the fullest.
Why is it hard to follow Jesus in walking away from the crowds rather than embracing them?
What does it mean to bear our cross (death) daily in the context and comfort of America?