Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What it Really Means to Follow Jesus

Let's just call it out.

Christianity is more than a religion. More than a nice option. More than a belief system. More than a series of events and meetings. More than some spirtiual legal transaction between me and God.

Following Jesus used to be hardcore. Kinda' all or nothin. No half-hearted fans allowed. Jesus spent most of his life attracting crowds and then running them away. Relatively few actually followed him. He called very few who really knew him as their Master. He had the twelve, but even one of them turned out to be just a crowd member - a turncoat ready to flip flop for thirty coins.

Even after his resurrection and appearances only 120 actually believed...and that counts his mom and brothers. It aint easy to follow Jesus. It's hard. It's the kind of thing that leads to a gnarly death upside down on a cross or a lifelong banishment to some critter-filled island. It should be no surprise to us. This is the guy who said, "If you want to follow me, pick up a cross." Today he might have told us to strap into an electric chair. Joining the Jesus Club is a death wish. A true follower ends up dying to everything he once loved and valued. And death isn't easy. It hurts. A lot.

But then there's the trade-offs. Though we die, we live. We are revolutionary zombies on a secret mission from God. The undead who have died but cannot be exterminated. Our death reeks of life to the dying. We are Neo. We flip the Matrix upside down and tell the world that they are dead. We wear grace and life like a letterman jacket through the high school cafeteria. They won't admit it readily, but they want what we got.

I don't believe in just being a good person. I don't believe in just going to church. I don't believe that simple religion and mindless morality are the hope the world. I believe in Jesus. And I follow HIm...even when it sucks....even when it means picking up a cross and extending my left hand for the first nail to pierce my wrist. I don't lead, I follow. I give up. I need help. I do what he says because I'm out of ideas and out of options. Like Peter I say, "I'm with you because I got nowhere else to go."

Just thought I'd rant for a minute.

I'm teaching about this over the next four Wedneday nights in the main auditorium at The Vineyard. If you're ready to die and quit playing the cultural christianity game, come check it out.

7 pm. Four Weeks. Starting Jan 30.

What It Really Means to Follow Jesus.

7 comments:

LTorres said...

I love the rant. I wish I could make it to the class. It sounds like you’re going to knock it out of the park.

ylmurph said...

now is this the class with you, or you and "other vcc staff"?

I'LL GET MY DAY IN THE SUNSHINE! or is it my day in court? day in the spotlight? I think it's spotlight...either way...you'll see Joe, you'll see

(this is my version of my rant - which by the way is a registered trademark of Dennis Miller - my rants are more about me and my needs)

Jessica said...

Dude, you rock!
Chills whilst reading you rant!

BassGirl said...

I am very excited about this class!! Your rant rocks!!

Wayne said...

Joe,

Darn that was great. I keep forgetting what it means to follow Yeshua. It really is all about given all things up and following Him. No matter the consequences.
I want to let you know that I am always praying for you and Debbie. I wish I could see you in action buddy. Say Hi to Debbie. Who knows you might see my ugly face there in Ohio sometime.

JPN said...

Any chance you'll make these teachings available to listen to online?

Anders Branderud said...

Le-havdil (to differentiate (to distinguish between the above and the below),
It is important to comprehend the difference between the historical Ribi Yehoshua ha-Mashiakh (the Messiah) from Nazareth and the counterfeit image.
To follow the historical Messiah is not the same as following the counterfeit image.
A logical analysis (found in www.netzarim.co.il (Netzarim.co.il is the website of the only legitimate Netzarim-group)) of all extant source documents of the “gospel of Matthew” (which is redacted and anti-Torah) and archeology proves that the historical Ribi Yehosuha ha-Mashiakh (the Messiah) from Nazareth and his talmidim (apprentice-students), called the Netzarim, taught and lived Torah (kept the mitzwot (directives or military-style orders) in Torah (“the books of Moses”)) all of their lives; and that Netzarim and Christianity were always antithetical.

The original words of the pro-Torah teacher Ribi Yehoshua were redacted by Roman Hellenists, and the redaction is found in the “gospels”. Jzus is described in the “gospels”, and le-havdil the teachings of the historical Torah-teacher Ribi Yehoshua from Nazareth are found in the reconstruction (using a logical and scientific methodology to create the reconstruction), Netzarim Hebrew Reconstruction of Hebrew Matityahu (NHM).

The historical Jew Ribi Yehoshua is not the same as the Christian Jzus. The historical Ribi Yehoshua was a human. There is a Jewish Ribi Yehoshua. The Christian Jzus is a counterfeit image of the historical Torah-teacher Ribi Yehoshua.
The only way of how to follow Ribi Yehoshua is through becoming one of his Netzarim (www.netzarim.co.il)-followers

To follow Ribi Yehoshua is the opposite of practising Christianity and the opposite of following the counterfeit image Jzus.

Anders Branderud