I jotted down a few thoughts after a recent lunch with a friend. It speaks to why I do the ministry of Alamo Band of Brothers. Thought I would share it here:
Just before the sermon on the mount, in John 5, Jesus says:
"And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life."
The Jews only knew the law and when Jesus came, they approached Him that way. But life is found only in Jesus, not the law. He is clearly trying to differentiate the two. As an intellect, I was much safer holding Christianity in my mind than the frontier of my own heart. I processed even the New Testament (an invitation to relationship with God found in Jesus) as a rule book to be followed. Despite a clear decision made to follow him, Christianity operated much more at the level of philosophy than identity.
An older, wiser John points to a completely different reason for writing to other followers of Jesus. It wasn't meant to be a rule book, but an experiential guide...a picture of what walking in right relationship with God looked like with an invitation to do the same.
"We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too." 1 John 1
So simple and so glorious that I almost completely missed it. The excavation of my heart has changed everything in my life. The realization that the offer was so much more than I realized found me:
- first angry
- then grieving the collateral damage from my misunderstanding
- and finally, broken-hearted for so many other men, like me, who were discouraged, disillusioned, and uninspired
I heard a pastor from Atlanta recently say:
"The purpose of church is not to make bad people good, but to bring dead people back to life."
Twenty years into a faith journey and a substantial amount of faith-based leadership, I was completely dead. I believe I am finally beginning to experience the life that Jesus came to offer and the New Testament invites us into.
I have journeyed from death to life.
I am progressively trying to determine the breadth of that offering which appears to be a borderless frontier. I don't have any energy for much else.