So often in the past, oh I don’t know how long, we have been told that religion is not where it’s at. We have learned that it is man’s attempt to reach up to God. It’s our try to link from here to the Lord on our own. It’s us building a tower up so that we can reach heaven. It’s our climbing a ladder, step by step, in our attempt to earn God’s favor.
Instead, the message we hear is that we live in a relationship. One that is based on the relationship that the Father has with the Son and the Holy Spirit. A relationship that involves an invasion from Heaven. One that began with normal familial relationships and spread to friendships among those that followed Him. A relationship that causes us to be adopted into God’s family and makes us Abraham’s descendants.
What if, though?
What if it’s actually both?
What if the relationship Christ establishes in us creates a religion that is not our attempt to simply reach God on our own?
Since the old things have passed away and the new has come, why isn’t religion new? Why doesn’t Jesus flip the script?
I think he does. We just don’t like the word religion once we come to know Christ and that’s ok. I don’t really care. As long as the relationship is driving the religion, we’re all good. As long as it simply isn’t us doing it all on our own, in our own power, in our own flesh, then we’re good.
Is it religion, relationship or both?
I’ll let you answer that one for yourself.
Which is it?
Happy Thanksgiving to all my Deuceology friends. I hope you have thanked the Lord today. Now go spend time with your family doing all of the good Thanksgiving things you have to do today.
Should you always share your thought on Twitter? How about on Facebook? Should you write about everything that’s on your mind?
Trust me, it’s question I’ve asked as I’ve composed and tweeted around 37,000 tweets since June 2009.
I haven’t always discriminated on what I’ve shared with the world in social media. I’ve tweeted out pictures of the burgers I’ve been grilling. I’ve shared political thoughts and ideas that others have supported and disagreed with .
I’ve had my share of Twitter wars and Facebook fights.
I’m sick of it.
Even if I haven’t done it in a while.
I see someone Tweeting something they believe, only to be blasted immediately by those who disagree with them. I have seen it escalate to the point of blogposts being written about those tweets.
Some of us have decided to appoint ourselves the protectors of everyone else from what we think are errant tweets.
I’m sick of it.
Recently, a well known pastor and preacher tweeted what he meant as comforting words in the face of tragedy. He did this from his particular viewpoint and his understanding of God.
He was demonized by some and taken to task by others. Not from outside the Church, supposedly. No, from supposed brothers and sisters in Christ.
I’m sick of it.
I know that we all have opinions. I know I do. Strong ones at that.
Dang, though, who in the world and why in the world do some have to sit there monitoring others just so they can rip them to shreds.
I’m sick of it.
What are you sick of?
I’ve shared a bit about my calling before. For those you haven’t read it, I’ll bring you up to speed.
I announced a call to ministry in 1999. I assumed that meant that I would be a pastor of a church. Through much angst, I decided that my family and I would move to Louisville, KY so that I could attend seminary. After a few of the hardest, if not the hardest, months of my life, we moved back home. I thought that my calling to ministry was over.
Little did I know that it was just beginning.
Eleven years later, I’m just beginning to understand this.
My wife’s uncle told me once that my ministry would be unique. It has simply taken me longer than I ever expected to find this place in my life.
For the first time in over a decade I’m excited to be in my local church.
The Lord has given me opportunities to preach and teach in my new church.
I’ve had a few other opportunities arise as well.
My friend Faye asked me not too long ago a question. I may get the exact words wrong, but not the message of what she asked me.
That’s a loaded question, isn’t it?
So, let me tell you what I want to do. When I say what I want to do, please don’t misunderstand. I’ve prayed about it and asked the Lord. The answer keeps coming back to this.
I want to do exactly what I’m doing.
I want to write. I want to preach. I want to teach.
Is that it?
Heavens no. Those are just the primary ministries that He is calling me to right now.
I want to nourish myself on everything the Lord give me to fuel those things. His word. Mission. Ministry. Love.
I was in a small group just the other day. I looked around at people who I am just getting to know. I love them. I listen to them, hear their stories and love them more.
What’s next? I don’t fully know. I just know that He will lead me day by day and I don’t have to spend too much time letting that question stress me like it once did.
What are you called to do?
We hear about it all the time. At least those of us who are into blogging and such.
Build your platform. Gather your followers. Establish a tribe.
There is nothing wrong with any of that. I want some of that myself. There’s just one thing I have decided, though.
Having followers doesn’t mean you have a tribe.
Just ask Jesus.
People followed him all over Israel. He started with a few fisherman. He gathered some other Galileans. Some zealots jumped on board and maybe some other political revolutionaries as well.
A few Pharisees sneaked in to see him in the dead of night, though most of them followed him in the daylight trying to catch him violating the law, or at least their version of it. A few women joined in and seemed to help Jesus out financially.
The crowds gathered. The crowds faded. The treasurer betrayed Christ. One of his right hand guys cursed and denied Him.
Jesus had plenty of followers. Not all of them were in his tribe though. Not all of them followed the Way. Everyone didn’t know the Truth. They all didn’t live the Life.
If all of Jesus’ followers didn’t form His tribe, why should we expect anything to be different for us?
Some people show up for a while and then disappear. Let’s face it, we’ve probably been guilty of it ourselves. We follow someone hard for a while and then our interest wains.
I have figured out the secret to what it takes to form a tribe. It sounds counter-intuitive. It doesn’t make sense. It has taken me a while to get this through my thick skull.
Tribes are not formed by writing blogs and waiting for someone to show up to read them.
Tribes are formed by establishing connections with people who truly benefit them.
What did Jesus do? He said, “Follow me.” Those that did and stuck with him gained the greatest benefits possible, far beyond what they could imagine.
What should we do? Do what you can to benefit those who have chosen to follow you. Seek out ways to benefit them in ways that somehow reach farther than just the post you wrote or the comments they make.
How do you do that? Hey, I’m just now figuring some of this out. Don’t expect me to have it all worked out yet. I’m on a journey. I just hope you’ll walk along with me.
Do you have followers? A tribe? Both?
***This is the 900th Deuceology post since I started this blog in 2011. Thanks for hanging in there with me***
I love music. I suppose I always have. Some of my earliest memories are listening to the radio while lying in the backseat of the car. I remember albums being stacked on the record player and hours of music filling the house. Country music was the style of choice and I still love to hear any Country music prior to the early to mid 90’s.
Around freshmen year of high school, I added pop and rock to the repertoire of sounds that would flow out of my boom box. Michael Jackson’s Thriller was an incredible experience for me at fourteen. I still get excited when I hear Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solos on Beat It.
On the flip side to all of this were the preachers of my youth. They told me that rock ‘n roll was evil. I recall one even stating that the rhythms summoned demons with the beats. You couldn’t trust it. Interestingly enough, I didn’t hear a lot of preaching against Country music at the time.
I’m not sure exactly what it was about rock music that really bothered preachers except that it attracted kids. Kids wanted to dance to it. It challenged the authority of the establishment. Maybe that’s what it was. Everyone thought they would lose control of the kids if they listened to it. One of the ways it was often expressed went like this:
If music makes you want to move your body more than your heart, then it’s wrong.
I’ve thought about that a lot over the years since I first heart that sentiment. I’ve wrestled with it. I may be a bit slow, but somewhere along the way I decided that this is wrong.
Music is designed to do a few things. It designed to reach our emotions. Through music and song, our feelings can be expressed in ways that they normally cannot be.
Music reaches into our heart. It helps unlock feelings that we don’t even know that we have.
Music does create movement. Try to stay perfectly still when you listen to any music. You might tap your foot, play air drums or guitar or break out in free form dance.
Music helps you tell a story. As you relate to the song, you and it help to create a new story, one that you didn’t know could exist.
Don’t you know that music was being played when David brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem? It wasn’t just perfectly quiet. This king loved music. The music helped him express his joy. It reached into his heart to help him express what he may not have known was there. He danced and danced and danced before the Lord. It created a story that otherwise would not have been told and would not impact us the same as if David had simply trucked the Ark into the city.
Music is powerful. Instead of fearing the results of how it might affect us, let’s embrace it and express it for the Lord.
Do you love music? How does it affect your life?
I have a good friend whose life changed the other day. Let’s call him David since that’s his name.
David and his wife recently adopted a young man into their family. They had been foster parents to this little fellow for a couple of years. Since he is about three, they are about all he knows as far as family.
He has slowly become part of this family over these years that they have had him. It was culminated by the legal declaration that he was permanently part of this family who he was already permanently in the hearts of. With it came a new name and a new start to life. The old life had passed away. The new life had come.
A new family was created.
Just over a year ago we began attending a new church. For a year we have been faithful attending. Slowly, but surely, we have grown within the body. We have had new opportunities. We have met new people and made new friends.
We recently had the chance to go through our church’s covenant class. Basically, we and the church agree to stick together. It’s a formal agreement, much like the covenants you find in the Bible.
Our church as a plan to do this as often as people want to covenant with the church. It’s a new start to life within this church body. The old life has passed away. The new life has come.
A new family is created.
God sent His Son to this earth to seek and save the lost. For those who had been born, which surprisingly is all of us, He said that we must be born again. We are called to believe and repent. We are told to believe and be baptized. We are justified by faith. We are transformed by the renewing of our mind. The old has passed away. The new has come.
A new family is created.
Have you become part of the new family?