Monthly Archives: October 2012

Are you inside or outside?

“And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables.  And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that:  “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.” 

And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?  How then will you understand all the parables?  The sower sows the word.  And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.  And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy.  And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.  And others are the ones sown among thorns.  They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.  But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”   Mark 4:10-20

If you have ever wondered about the role God has in the hearts of those who respond, Jesus clears up any doubts about His supremacy in all things–including our own understanding.  Jesus identifies the spiritual “goods” that people seek:  seeing things as they really are, hearing the voice of God in their lives, having the ability to rightfully act within the eternal joys of forgiveness.  Unfortunately, these things are not found by those on the “outside”.

But what about other religions, you might ask?  What about the sincerity of the Jew?  or the devotion of the Muslim?  or the spirituality of the Mystic?  Keep in mind the audience Jesus taught.  They were Jewish.  And the devotion of the Pharisees of his day would make most modern Muslims blush.  Even the overall spiritual climate included a fair number of mystics who sought after God apart from society in the desert regions of Qumran.

So how does this relate to you and me?

There’s a part of you that finds your identity in being sincere and authentic.  But apart from Christ, you’re still outside of his good graces of forgiveness and eternal life.

There’s another side of you that relishes being religious.  It’s the side of you that leans toward ritual and tradition.  But even that part of you stands outside the smile of God’s favor.  The Pharisees, in all of their ritual and religion, still missed the Son of God in their midst.

Finally, there is a part of you that enjoys the mystery involved in pursuing a God you cannot see.  Your heart enjoys the journey of looking for a God who is there in a sort of cat-and-mouse game.  But the problem is simple:  you are looking for Him on your own terms.  This passage of Scripture reminds us that you cannot find God when you look for Him on your own terms.  Instead, you must receive the truth as revealed in Jesus.

For many people–perhaps most–this is too hard to take.  The idea that they must pursue God on His terms instead of their own is as foreign to them as me coming into their living room and changing the TV channel during their favorite show.  But this is exactly what Jesus does to each of us who truly want to follow him–on his terms.

May you rediscover the richness of surrendering to Jesus and come in from the cold.  He’s waiting for you right now.

Application Questions:

1.  Do you agree that seeking God must be done on His terms only?  To what degree do you believe this to be true?

2.  Are you still outside–trying to enter into true fellowship with Jesus on your own ability and sincerity?  How’s that working for you?

3.  Jesus doesn’t seem to leave any wiggle-room in this passage.  To follow him, we must do so on his terms only.  What do you think of that?

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You–a Diamond in the Rough?

“Again he began to teach beside the sea.  And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.  And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:  “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.  Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil.  And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.  Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.  And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”  And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”   Mark 4:1-9

This is one of Jesus’ most popular parables.  It’s easy to remember and so simple that a child can understand it.  But it’s much deeper than you think.  Like a diamond with multiple sides, this parable strikes at the multiple dimensions of the human heart–of your heart.  Jesus challenges us to have ears to hear–so let’s think of some of the things we need to listen to from this passage:

1.  There are different types of soils–different types of heart conditions…

This is how this passage is mostly preached–that there are different soils out there–different human hearts with various degrees of openness to the Gospel.  This is true.  This challenges us to ask ourselves, “What kind of soil am I?”

2.  Jesus is giving a throwback to Genesis 1…

In the opening verses of the Bible, we see God’s Spirit hovering over the initial mass of creation, bringing form, function, and beauty.  This speaks to the teleios aspect of God’s handiwork–leading everything towards a divinely orchestrated purpose.  And so now, God is doing a new creation in forming the new people of God centered upon the life, ministry, and purpose (teleios) of Jesus Christ.  This begs the question:  Has Jesus begun a reconstruction project in your life?

3.  Jesus is referring to God as the Sower–and now people are coming out of exile through his ministry…

God is the Divine Sower of His people–and now He is delivering them from exile.  The days of living under the indictment of the Law can be fulfilled and thus replaced by a new day of Grace–a new Kingdom.  This Kingdom is of course, set upon the life and ministry of Jesus–who is the Sower Par Excellence (God).  This makes us ask, “Am I living as free in God’s Kingdom–or am I still in the bondage of sin and the corrupt values of a fallen world system?”

4.  The four types of soil are really in each of us–so stay humble and repentant…

We would be arrogant to think that we are always only one type of soil.  Even if we are the “good soil”–there are moments and blocks of time in which we find ourselves more aptly described by the other types of soil.  This should humble us, and help us to remember that we are in a chronic state of need before Jesus.  Now we can ask in honest inventory of our own lives, “In what ways am I like each of these soils?”

5.  When it comes to evangelism, look for people who will reproduce…

Let’s face it, not everyone is open to the message of Jesus.  It seems that few today really want his message of exclusive salvation and hope found in him to be their life’s defining mark.  So we are challenged to look for “good soil” people–those who are receptive to his message of life and eternal hope.  This reminds us to ask, “Am I actively sharing the Gospel with others, in hopes of finding those who will reproduce this message?”

6.  Perhaps the seed should challenge us to be faithful to wherever God sows us…no matter what happens…we are the Gospel seed in the world today…

I’m not saying we are the Gospel.  I’m saying that as children of God in Christ, we are the Gospel-seed that reproduces this message of hope with ripple effects in all we say and do.  And in so doing, we cannot always be choosey about where we do this.  In other words, the seed in this story was utterly consistent with its unique purpose and identity to do one thing:  to die in order to reproduce.  In the same way, are you doing the same thing?  God has planted you where you are — will you die to your frustration over the lack of fruit or unfavorable circumstances that seem endless?

May these perspectives remind you of the immense treasure that God’s Word is to us–to you, as you grapple with a life of meaning and purpose in Christ.  Surrender to him in a way that is real and unique to you as you seek to give all of yourself to him in order to have all of him to you.


Would Jesus Call You His Brother, Sister or Mother?

“And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him.  And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.”  And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”  And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”   Mark 3:31-35

Chicago, like so many big cities, is home to many different gangs.  Gang maps of the city show that in almost every area there is some kind of gang presence.  What is at the root of this?  It’s really simple:  the deep down desire of all humans to belong.  We want to plug into some group of people who will love us, give us a sense of appreciation, and provide some type of refuge from the the pressures and storms of life.

Many homes in the United States are termed “broken” or dysfunctional due to divorce and relational problems.  But this sad reality should welcome this passage of Scripture in which Jesus declares the roots of a new family system that begins (and ends) with him.

Think of all the things that separate people today.  You have differing socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicity, and even religious heritage.  Think of all the “-isms” that come between people:  racism, classism, intellectualism, anti-semitism, sexism, etc…  So what is the answer to everything that divides us?  Of course, the only solution is found in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Notice what Jesus says.  He is the link for all kinds of people.  He is the common ground.  He is the glue.

It doesn’t matter what race you are–what background you come from–or what your heritage is (or isn’t).  True well-being is not being on the right side of an issue in the pages of history.  In fact, each of us–including you–is on the WRONG side of history.  It was your sins and my sins that put Jesus on the cross.  It was your guilt and my guilt that hung him there.  It was for me and you that he died.  Do you believe this?

This means that your heritage–your background–your roots–are not the key to any kind of self-satisfaction or right standing with God.  Jesus makes that clear in this passage.  Instead, those who comprise the family of God are those in right standing with Him. Period.

This is what it means to live a Jesus-centered life.  This is what it means to follow him.  This is what it means to be a Christian.  You cannot hold tightly onto Jesus while also holding on to something else to “qualify” you or give you some kind of “leg up” on others around you.  You must make a choice.  Will you hold only onto Christ today?  Your true identity depends on it.

Application Questions:

1.  Think of your heritage.  What does that mean for you?  Are you holding on to it while trying to follow Christ?

2.  Following Jesus means that he is the most important center of our lives.  Everything else is a distant second.  What things are competing in your life to take his place?

3.  When it comes to be on the right side of history regarding an issue, we are all equal opportunity sinners.  The cross of Christ declares to all that you are on the wrong side of history because your sins put Jesus on the cross.  Do you really believe this?

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When You Can’t Play By Their Rules Anymore.

“And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”  And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.  And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.  But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man.  Then indeed he may plunder his house.  Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”   Mark 3:22-30

Jesus is in full stride.  He’s changing countless lives and becoming a source of contention for the religious elite.  He does not honor their false power structures–nor does he bow to their authority.  Instead, he establishes a new authority that is centered upon his own life and ministry.

To put this in modern terms, it would be like you going to Wall Street and changing the rules (something the Occupy Wall Street protestors have tried to do without much success).  Or it would be like you going to the Pentagon and changing the policies regarding foreign engagement by US troops.  Or it would be like you going to the NFL and changing the rules by adding a fifth down to the current four down structure.

In other words, the change in authority and power was causing the ‘powers that be’ of the day to seek to disarm and discredit Jesus.  He had officially turned from being a new threat to now being an unwelcome phenomenon that must be eliminated at all costs.

The lesson for us in this passage is very simple.  If Jesus faced this kind of opposition and resistance–then we can expect no less as we follow in the steps of our Master.  At some point we will be misunderstood by others and perhaps even falsely accused.  In other words, there is a price to pay in following Christ–and at some point you will have to pay.

There’s a quote that gives me comfort during times like this.  It goes like this:  Ministry that costs nothing accomplishes nothing (John Henry Jowett).  Some have even contended that ministry that costs nothing is not true ministry at all.

But there’s one more thing that is easy to miss in this passage that I want you to notice.  It’s important that you see this.

Let Jesus answer your critics.  And I’m not just talking about the critics out there–I’m also talking about the ones inside your own head.  The doubts and fears and self-condemnation that drags you down as you seek to live for Christ.  Let Jesus handle those voices too.

In this passage the disciples didn’t have to say a word–Jesus did all the talking.  In the same way, he defends us before the Father because in him we are now forgiven and declared righteous in God’s eyes.  There is no condemnation coming your way from Heaven–only from the direction of Hell.  And you don’t have to answer those critics–just ask Jesus to and he will silence them.

Application Questions:

1.  How do you think Jesus felt hearing the criticism of the religious elite?  Does he still feel those same pains when people dismiss him today?

2.  Do you think Jesus was too nice to the critics?  Or was he too sharp?

3.  How do people commit the unforgivable sin today?  Do you ever worry that you have done so?


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Is God Calling You?

“And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him.  And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.  He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.  Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat.  And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”   Mark 3:13-21

There’s a story about King Henry III of Bavaria (1017-1056).  Evidently he grew tired of being a king, so he went to a monastery to dedicate his life in a subservient role to others.  The Prior said to him, “Your Majesty, do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience?  That will be hard because you have been a king.”

Henry replied that he understood and was willing to be obedient in any role that the Prior gave him.

Then the Prior said to him, “Then I will tell you what to do.  Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you.”  And so he returned to his kingdom, confessing that he learned to rule by first being obedient.

This is the spirit in which Jesus calls his disciples.  They are no longer to live for themselves but for his purposes and for his kingdom.  And God calls us to the same level of commitment.  In responding to God’s call upon our lives, it is helpful to keep in mind three things that we see in this passage:

First, notice that Jesus is in the business of calling people to himself.  Out of the many he calls the few.  It doesn’t mean that the crowd was less important to him, it just means that in this instance he selectively called these twelve people in a special way.  And they were available too.  They surrendered their wants and needs to his wants and needs.  They could’ve refused–but instead they said yes.

As you read this, Jesus is calling you.  I don’t know what he is saying to you, but he is calling you.  Will you come?

Second, Jesus knew each of them by name.  In some instances he even renamed them.  But each one was personal to him and of special importance.  The same holds true for you.  Jesus is calling you (it’s no cosmic accident that you are reading this right now), and he knows your name.

In Bible times, to know someone’s name showed a level of personal endearment.  It meant that you and the other person were intimately close.  In the same way, Jesus wants to be intimately close to you.

Finally, when we surrender to this kind of life in Jesus, some may think you’ve lost your mind or fallen off the deep end.  They may think you’ve taken religion too seriously.  They may even write you off and no longer want to be associated with you.

Painful as that can be, it’s a good reminder that in the end, we cannot follow the world and Jesus at the same time.  There must be an alliance that defines us–and it must be to Jesus.

Notice some interesting particulars about this passage:  Jesus had nicknames for some of his crew.  If he gave you a nickname, what would it be?  Also, the text says he “went home” which seems to indicate that he actually owned or rented a house (at least at this time in his life and ministry).  Who knows, perhaps later he would sell it to fund their ministry together and show the disciples the importance of selling everything for the sake of the call.  Or maybe it’s a subtle message to us that “home” is wherever Jesus leads us to be–completely immersed in his will for our lives.

As you go about the rest of your day and week, may you and I both be more like King Henry III of Bavaria who learned to rule out of humble submission and obedience.  That’s what Jesus is looking for–may he find those qualities in us today.

Application Questions:

1.  Have you felt the call of Jesus upon you and your life?  What does that look like for you?

2.  Do you think the call of Jesus is different in terms of commitment or degree of sacrifice?  Why or why not?

3.  Jesus knows your name.  Let that sink in for a moment.  How does that bring the warmth of his love to your heart and mind?

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Jesus Likes Rush Hour?

“Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon.  When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him.  And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him.  And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”  And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.”   Mark 3:7-12

How do you feel about crowds?  What about being stuck in rush hour traffic?  Or when you go to the grocery store and everyone else seems to be there too?

I don’t particularly like being in crowds.  But I’ve also learned to just go with the flow of it and try not to let it bother me.  Sometimes it can be amusing just to do some ‘people watching’ in the frustration of it all.

I’m glad Jesus doesn’t seem to mind crowds.  In this passage, he wisely prepares a boat.  But notice it wasn’t to leave the people.  It was for the sake of continuing his ministry to them.  People from all over the area were coming to Jesus, and they were bringing their problems too.  And one by one, we see Jesus taking the time to help each one.

I want you to notice two very special things about this passage that hopefully will encourage you.

First, notice that Jesus isn’t afraid of crowds.

You may say, “OK, that’s nice, but how does that apply to me?”

Even with all the technology around us, most of us still live very crowded lives.  We have several concerns pressing on us at all times.  The new economic realities force many of us (like myself) to have several jobs instead of just one.  Over and over again, I feel as if my life is very crowded–with little signs of relief on the horizon.

But Jesus isn’t scared by all the clutter and noise.  In fact, he’s very interested and wants to stick around in the midst of it all.  Just tonight I came home from a late meeting and had to fix the toilet seat in our bathroom.  I just wanted to relax, but this was a project that needed my attention–and it needed me now.  And guess what?  Jesus was in that bathroom with me, helping me to fix it.

Second, notice that Jesus took time for each person who came to him.  Now think about this for a second.  He’s God, right?  Of course!  So, he could’ve done a one-for-all magic wave and healed everyone at once.  I can see it now.  Jesus stands on top of a wooden barrel, raises his arms, and does a sign of the cross.  Then he says, “There.  All better.  Now go in peace so me and my homies, I mean disciples, can relax for the rest of the day.”

But that’s not what he did at all.  Instead, he took the time to personally be involved in each and every situation.  Even for those who were troubled by demons (sort of ironic, but notice that even the demons got some attention that day too).

The point?  While we may live cluttered and busy lives, Jesus is not so busy that he has no time for you personally.  This passage is recorded to remind you that God is not too busy for you and your problems.  The real question is this:  Are you too busy to take your problems to Him?

Application Questions:

1.  If you were in the area that day, would you have taken the time to go and see Jesus?  Why or why not?

2.  Do you really believe that your life is too cluttered for God to share His presence with you?  How so?

3.  How does it comfort you to know that Jesus, right now, has time for you?  Go ahead, take some time to just be with him right now.


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Jesus Doesn’t Get Along Well with Religious People

“Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand.  And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him.  And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.”  And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?”  But they were silent.  And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.  The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.”   Mark 3:1-6

It’s hard to believe, but in this story the religious people of the day were actually upset at Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath.  They had believed that the Sabbath meant no work–and somewhere in their tradition and understanding they had classified healing as “work”–and thus prohibited on the Sabbath.

What’s even more tragic is that a genuine miracle occurred right in front of their eyes and they totally missed it.  And to put a cherry on top of their “We hate Jesus” sundae, they united in their opposition against him and started planning for a way to kill him.

Look again and you see a downward slide of three stages:  (1) Religious tradition is more important than people; (2) Religious tradition can blind us to see God’s unique working in our midst–especially when he does so in ways that are ‘outside of the box’ for us; and (3) Eventually you must choose:  either follow some form of religious tradition or follow Jesus–but at some point there is a huge difference.

Now don’t get me wrong.  We all have some form of religious tradition.  For some of us, we go to a church that is filled with ritual and tradition–and it all points to Jesus.  And for others who may attend less formal or less structured services, they still have traditions of how to do things properly and in good working order.

But when we choose to trust our spiritual health to traditions and in our performance of keeping them, instead of trusting in Christ as the One who perfectly kept them for us in God’s eyes–we have crossed a dangerous line.

Now we’ve become people who can mindlessly go through the motions of worship and devotion–and still be hardened in our hearts to the real kind of devotion that Jesus is looking for.  It’s like when you drive the same route everyday–you must be careful that you don’t put things in ‘autopilot’ mode and one day find yourself in an accident that was preventable.

The other thing to learn from this story is that Jesus has a way of going against our traditions.  Just because we’ve always done church a certain way doesn’t mean that God likes it.  Just because we always pray a certain way doesn’t mean God hears it.  Just because we always give the same amount of money doesn’t mean that God is pleased.

On a different note, let’s spend a few moments thinking about this man.

In Bible days, to have a withered hand was a real handicap (even today too).  Since most labor in Bible days was menial, this meant that you were virtually unemployable and reduced to being a beggar.  You couldn’t shake hands with people, do meaningful work, or worship without this stigma (to the Jews who often lifted hands in worship, a withered hand indicated that the person had some kind of secret sin that they were holding onto and that God was judging them for).

Now, this man was free.  He could more freely love and interact with others, reach his labor potential AND worship without any kind of stigma.

You are that man.  And this is what God wants to do for you in Jesus.

God wants you to experience a new freedom in Him, allowing you to have more meaningful relationships with others, reach your potential, and worship Him without anything holding you back.

Take a moment now–ignore the critics in your head–and stretch out your hand.  As you do, pray for Jesus to completely heal your life.  You will never be the same!

Application Questions:

1.  What religious traditions do you keep?  Are they meaningful to you?  How so?

2.  Are you trusting in your religious traditions more than in Jesus?  How would you know?

3.  Is there a part of your life–a hand–that needs the healing touch of God?  Surrender it to Jesus now and see what God does…

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Meet Jesus, the NonConformist

“One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.  And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”  And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him:  how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?”  And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.   So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”    Mark 2:23-28

Jesus and his disciples were hungry.  All the restaurants were closed.  So he did some “dumpster diving” with his buddies–and it upset the religious leaders of the day.

Not only was plucking grain a religious taboo on the Sabbath, but for an up and coming Rabbi, this was not something to be tolerated.  In other words, if Jesus could bend the rules slightly in his favor, then everyone else would do the same–and it would be a religious meltdown of Chernobyl-like proportions.

Let’s focus on a couple of thoughts:  one exegetical and one allegorical.

First, Jesus is making a claim to be God.  God had instituted the whole concept of the Sabbath.  God was not to blame for the 612 rules that the Jews had put on top of the idea of keeping Sabbath–but the foundation was still God.  In other words, everyone knew that the Sabbath was a special religious marker separating the people of God (the Jews) from all other cultures and peoples on the earth.

But when Jesus talks as if it was (and is) all designed for his purposes–then he is making a direct claim to be the One behind it all.  He is making a clear statement that he is the Lord God, plain and simple.

This means that all true religion should point to and end at the person of Jesus Christ, plain and simple.

Second, notice that Jesus is walking through the grainfields.  And he has every right to–for if he is truly the Lord, then the fields belong to him.  The fields represent the souls of people–all over–who need the Lord.

All around us, everyday, Jesus is walking in and through people’s lives.  He is at work in every human life, even when we can’t see him.  He is no stranger to your life.  And he’s totally aware of what’s going on in your friends’ and family’s and neighbors’ lives as well.  When you see a person on the street–Jesus is walking through the grainfields of their life.

As his followers, we need to pray that we will faithfully reach the people that he wants us to reach.  We need to ask the Lord of the Harvest how we can join him in walking the grainfields.  Being a follower of Christ means following him through the grainfields of people’s lives.  Not every disciple followed Jesus that day–but for those who did they were used by God to disclose further revelation and truth that sets people free.  And when we live like that, we too can be like Jesus, a nonconformist of epic proportion.

Application Questions:

1.  Do you see Jesus as Lord of All?  as God?  or just a nice, moral teacher or prophet?

2.  Have you ever thought about Jesus walking through the grainfields of your life?  of your friends’ lives?  Are there parts that you would rather him NOT walk through?

3.  How can you become a willing partner with Jesus in reaching other people for him by joining him in the grainfields of the world at large?  How does that change how you view your friends? coworkers? strangers on the street?


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