I was surrounded by born-again Christians at a retreat I somehow ended up at. I saw how deeply the friendship & love ran between these Jesus followers, so different than what was my ‘norm’. They didn’t care about my atheistic, black magic, God-hating, drug-infested, sin-wallowing background. They loved me without knowing anything about me. They included me, they laughed and were filled with a childlike joy that was infectious. No one was putting on airs. There was no pressure. It was like a bunch of kids in a kindergarten class sharing snacks with each other and playing at recess. Honestly, it was beautiful and I had NEVER seen or experienced anything like it before.
They showed me how following Jesus felt, looked like, and was, versus telling me what I needed to know or do or stop.
St. Francis of Assisi told us to “Preach the Gospel and when necessary use words”. The best lessons in life are caught not taught. I caught a glimpse of Jesus’ effect on a community of college kids like me. The best teachers are not teachers but followers who share their lives with their friends. The most anointed sermons are the sermons God is preaching through a person’s life.
Our lives are sermons God wants to preach, teach, and share.
Jesus, who called us friends, shared what God was teaching him personally through the life and sacrifices he was being called to; and subsequently is calling us to follow in His footsteps. Paul wrote, “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well’ 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV).
When someone is willing to pull back the appearances and reveal their real self/life with others, hero worship goes out the window and God worship comes in. God’s anointing, gifting, etc. are seen for what they really are. A God-given gift or ability that is sourced in God, not the individual being spectacular, better than, more holy, or angel-like. When we share our lives with each other we get less worship, admiration, and kudos, and God gets more.
Older Christians, Fathers in the Faith, Elders sharing our lives in addition to truths of God is putting John 3:21 into practice “whoever practices the truth comes into the Light, so that it may be clearly seen that what he has done has been accomplished in God” (Berean Study Bible)
I was listening to 20-somethings asking an 80-something Loren Cunningham questions in a Q&A session after a teaching he gave. All the questions were not on what he taught, but on how he lived:
“How have you been able to keep your fire for the Lord and for the lost all these years?
“How have you managed the demands of family and ministry all these years and your kids love God?”
They are longing for the authentic deal, not another “looks good onstage, but is living a lie offstage” putting on a God show. When others see it lived out well, everyone wants to know “how”. But the wise always answer, “Walk with God,” and God will show you how for you personally.
Many younger people have heard the ‘what’ of the Bible. Do this and don’t do that. God is this and requires that. But few have seen firsthand following Jesus modeled out in a person’s personal life. Standing up and teaching does not equal sharing your life, it is just teaching.
Apparently God knew we would have a tendency to hide behind what we “know” vs. the authenticity of sharing who we are.
“Even if you have 10,000 tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers”- 1 Cor. 4:15. The Biblical view of Father is to share who they are and to teach from their life, not to be the “Grand Lecturer” only dispensing what they “know” and may not live out.
Be the believer that opens your heart, home, and life to others God brings to you. God’s light will shine even brighter in your imperfections. What I love about YWAM teachers that I have heard is they share who they are and where they come from before they launch into Amazing Scripture/God revelations, powerful miraculous stories, prophetic words, words of knowledge, physical healing, or any other supernatural gifting. When Christians share their story or lives first it can be clearly seen that they and we are ordinary people who serve an empowering extra-ordinary God.
Unfortunately we the Church have it backwards. We celebrate the stage, love the distance and “aura” that distance creates, while we hide the imperfections in our private lives. All the while the real power to transform others is found in sharing our very lives as Paul did, modeling “how” following God looks and feels. Jesus showed what being near to God looked like to his closest friends; so we are to do with one-another. Then we learn the lessons God is teaching through each person’s life.
“When you come together, everyone has a psalm or a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All of these must be done to build up the church” 1 Cor. 14:26 (Berean Study Bible).
I think the Quakers were on to something
**Mucho Thanks for Jamie Blondin & Jarred Isch for editing my blogs! My readers and I thank you :)**