A “Fearless” Conclusion

Today, I finished reading Max Lucado’s book, “Fearless”. First of all, I highly recommend his book to absolutely anyone. It has surely opened my eyes to the incredible amount of fear in our world and renewed my mind according to God’s will, regarding what it is that I should fear, and what it is that I should not. If you are interested at all in what I pondered this afternoon, as I began to draw a few conclusions from what I had read and what I felt God was attempting to teach me, then I encourage you to take a few minutes to read the following journal entry that I ended up writing as a result…

Fear has a way of setting the world on fire; men and women hungrily eat up tidbits of dreadful news through every avenue of media they can. I’ve witnessed this with motherly figures in my life. Women that have positions in which they have nurtured and matured me throughout the years and whom I certainly love. They watch hours of Oprah, Dr. Phil, Dateline, 20/20, and other shows that will remind them of the dangers of the world. It’s like a sick addiction where scary news must be read, shared with others, and fret over, while good news is quickly forgotten.

Forgetting seems to be a common issue that Christians deal with. God constantly reminds us to remember throughout the course of Scripture. Ministry leaders must remind us frequently that God is still there and He still cares. Christians, we have to remember. If we forget who our God is, then who will tell this broken and depraved world that there is indeed someone who can save them!?!?! God is here! Our Savior has come and will surely be coming back.

The old idiom, “you are what you eat,” can be taken quite literally. We will become whatever it is that we fill ourselves up with. If you feed on the fear that media wants to feed you, then you will be fearful. If you read magazines that tell you to worry about the shape and size of your body, then you will care far too much about your looks and potentially become critical of others. If you sip from the sex-crazed goblet of romance novels, pornography, and sensuality in general, then you will indeed become a sexually immoral being.

What if we began to fill ourselves up with the words of God? He says to us, “Be strong and courageous”, “do not fear”, and reminds us that we have “not yet resisted sin to the point of shedding blood”. If you want the world to change, then change it; one broken heart at a time…starting with yours. Yes, even your heart needs healing and indeed our minds need to be renewed. If you fill yourselves up with God’s Word and His Spirit, then you will surely become more and more Christ-like each day and the people in your life NEED Jesus’ love. Let’s face it, you and I are not capable of loving others to the degree that they need to be loved, especially if we are not filling our cups to overflowing with His gracious, perfect, and merciful love on a daily basis.

Ready for the bottom line? God is God. If one truly reveres (respectfully fears) God, then all other fears cease and courage is born. Max Lucado stated, “Courage is fear that has said its’ prayers.” How incredibly true! “When God is fully revealed to us and we ‘get it’, then we experience the conversion of our fear…’Fear of the Lord’ is the deeply sane recognition that we are not God.” At the bottom of the same page, Lucado writes, “A big God translates into big courage. A small view of God generates no courage.”

Imagine a country filled with men that actually feared God…Imagine what they would be capable of under the direction of the Holy Spirit…Imagine how much your life would differ if you concluded to live a life that is free from the fears of this world, but maintained a healthy dose of the sobering fear of the LORD. Imagine…how friendships would be deepened, marriages restored, families brought together, nations united. The imagination is a powerful tool and a beautiful gift that God has given us. Anyone tired of simply imagining? Who is ready to make their wildest, Christ-centered dreams a reality?

It would appear that Max Lucado shares my love for coffee, as at the end of his chapter, “Caffeinated Life”, he writes, “Eternal glory. I’d like a large cup, please. ‘One venti-sized serving of endless joy in the presence of God. Go heavy on the wonder, and cut all the heartache.’ Go ahead and request it. The Barista is still brewing. For all you know, it could be the next cup you drink.” Christians, it is time to walk away from the paralysis of fear. It is time to truly live. “Real courage embraces the twin realities of current difficulty and ultimate triumph. Yes, life stinks. But it won’t forever. As one of my friends likes to say, “Everything will work out in the end. If it’s not working out, it’s not the end.” (Max Lucado) Lay down your pride, O Christian, fall on your face before the LORD, admit that you are not adequate for the task as your forefathers have (even Jesus relied on prayer, do you think yourselves to be more capable than He?), ask Him for His blessing, and when He touches you, lifts you up, and instructs you to live according to His purpose, free from fear…then do just that. Live obediently.

Continuing the Fight,

Justin

Pearlescent Shepherds

Who on earth are the Pearlescent Shepherds? Well…let me tell you!

THE MEN BEHIND THE MUSIC

Jacob “J-Weazy” Weakland

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Jake since the 5th grade. His energy, love for life, cheery spirit, warm heart, and bright smile make the world a better place. With the charm of a Carolina native and developed vocalist abilities; he has become a force to be reckoned with. Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me,” is very true of this brother in Christ. Whether you are listening to his music or hanging with him in person, you will see Jesus Christ reflected in the way he interacts with you and others. He is definitely one of the most refreshing individuals to spend time with.

Christopher “HipHopTheologian” Halvorson: 

Chris is one of the wisest friends I have; always seeking the LORD in all he does. Being a couple years older than me, I’ve always looked up to him as a sort of older brother. His quick wit, strength, natural ability to lead, love for Scripture, and intellect make him a massive threat for the Evil One.  He’s studied theology, Greek, and the Bible at MidAmerica Nazarene University. His lyrics will challenge you to the core. The spoken-word piece that he wrote and recorded for the album “Uprooted”, titled Sociopath is a primary example. And if you’re lucky enough to be led by him in a Bible Study as I have, then you will surely be rocked by the biblical teaching that he will bring without sugar-coating anything.

THE MUSIC

Their first major project was “Click. Click. Saved.” Released in April 2009, their loyal fans in Kansas City and Manhattan, KS have been listening to this masterpiece since then. My favorites from this album would be “Glorious”, “Amazing”, and “Unfulfilled”. Since then, the Pearlescent Shepherds have been in concert in Wichita, Manhattan, Olathe (where they opened for SameState, a band recently signed by Sparrow Records), Overland Park, and a few other Kansas City area venues.

And now…TWO YEARS LATER…they’ve DONE IT AGAIN! Released just yesterday, their newest album “UpRooted” is sure to capture the ears of audiences everywhere. As their friend, I’ve seen the COUNTLESS hours of prayer, writing, recording, and editing that has been put into this project. J-Weazy and HipHopTheologian are light-years ahead of where they were when they released their first mix-tape! This album was written keeping Colossians 2:6-10 in mind:

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”

I’ve now listened through “UpRooted” about 3 times already and the album is off da hook! With a mixture of rap, hip-hop, R&B, spoken-word, and the utter talent they both possess, you’re sure to be jammin’ to this album for a long time to come! What makes their music noteworthy, however, is the fact that it is truthfully rooted in Christ. Every lyric, rhyme, and sermon clip were chosen to bring glory to God! I know for a fact that these individuals simply want their message to challenge all of us and to bring us all into the Kingdom of God; serving Jesus Christ with every fiber of our being’s. There is no room for the lukewarm as Revelation 3:16 reminds us.

ARE YOU INTERESTED?

If you’re now interested in their music, then you can visit http://pearlescentshepherds.bandcamp.com in order to download their songs for FREE. That’s right…it’s FREE. So the real question is…why on earth would you not?

Identity: Christ-Is

We will always be dissatisfied trying to find our identity in anything other than Christ. So, my advice? Stop wasting your time attempting to find yourself in the things of this world and start looking to the undeniable presence of something greater. The truth? We’re all nothing without Christ. Without Jesus as my Lord, Savior, and Redeemer, I’m a sinner deemed unworthy of anything but death. Thankfully, God saw it fit to have His Son die in my place and I am now co-heir with Christ and one of His children. How cool is that?!?!

Grace is certainly a difficult concept to comprehend. In fact, societal norms have taught us the very opposite; we have to EARN everything according them. But God did the unfathomable and extended His hand, mighty to save, and offered us His mercy and salvation. Perhaps the key to understanding this phenomenon is surrender. In fact, I would argue that it is indeed surrender. Think about it…if you are willing to deny yourself and admit that you are nothing without Christ and then allow yourselves to live in His light, then you are indeed God’s children. And if you are His children, then you are also His disciples and His disciples are indeed His friends. Keeping in mind that we can be Christ’s friends, we can take a look at John 15:14-15, which says:

“You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you”

He will make EVERYTHING known to us! Along the same lines, Scripture leads us to the conclusion that the prayers of righteous men are powerful and effective (James 5:16) if they align with the will of the Lord and He will be faithful to give us anything we ask (Mark 11:24). So my friends, seek the Lord and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Keep a prayer journal as a record of the things you ask God to show you and be amazed as your prayers begin to be answered, and as He begins to reveal His glorious self to you.

Strangely enough, there will come a point when you are okay with being nothing without Christ. Because the truth is that He’s become your everything and is all there is anyways. You will begin to realize that you are a part of something so much bigger than the small time-line of your own existence. And slowly, over time, the heart within you that you thought was in comatose will come alive! It’ll be alive because it’s doing exactly what it was created to do in the first place; worshipping God and enjoying Him forever.

Frustration: Let’s Get REAL!

One of the many difficulties I had grasping the concept of following Christ with EVERYTHING that I had early in my college-career was the fact that all of the so-called Christians seemed to have everything together. There was NO WAY that I could be like them. Not a chance…I mean, I had problems. And they all seemed to hold their own. They attended their campus ministries, had regular church attendance, had Scripture memorized, knew all the wise things to say in various situations, and were even looked up to by a decent portion of the student body.

Well, as an upperclassmen within the body of believers on the K-State campus, I refuse to be viewed as that Christian that has it all together. In my own opinion, the body of believers must remain authentic and real in all they do. There is an unstated pressure to be perfect; to constantly model the values of Christ without fault and if we do come to fault, then we better brush it under the rug and keep smiling. Let me make something clear before continuing…I love Jesus Christ! There is not a single doubt about that. Without Him as my LORD and Savior there is nothing worth living passionately for; at all. Nothing else will satisfy like His undying, unconditional, perfect, unconditional; love, grace, and mercy. BUT just because I am a follower of the Most High God does NOT mean that life suddenly becomes perfect. Nor does it require that even as an individual that is now slightly older and “more experienced/wise” than my classmates, that I pretend to be perfect.

So, let’s get REAL! You’ll notice that an undying theme within my writing, speech, and person as a whole is the concept that being authentic is the more valuable asset an individual can have. If you’re doubting; then tell your friends that you are! If you don’t believe you’re saved; then why put a front like you are? If you don’t have a conviction on a certain set of “Christian values” (drinking, smoking, movies, etc); then don’t pretend that you do (I’m not currently stating my position on any of the aforementioned; just saying that we should be REAL. Don’t PRETEND). So let’s do this thing! Let’s get real.

I am currently very frustrated. For those of you that have been around me the past few days; I’m NOT frustrated with you. But I am frustrated with myself. Oh so very frustrated. Romans 7:19-21 says, “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” I would say this verse does an excellent job portraying the current state of my mind and life. I am well-aware of what I need to be doing, the steps to take to defeat sin, and to live free from the bondage of my own hurtful thoughts but the battle against my flesh is never-ending.

Does this mean that I am doomed to a life of failure? No…Peter, who is revered as the rock that the church was built on, struggled. In fact, he denied knowing Jesus three times in one day! Before the Holy Spirit revealed Himself to Simon (Peter), he was a slanderous, envious, murder of Christians. How on earth could a man of his nature be considered worth of building the church in which we now worship Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior? And then to add the cherry on top, as a son of the Most High God, Peter DENIES His Savior, denying ANY association with the man whatsoever. He’s still saved.

It is BY GRACE that I have been saved. It is BY GRACE that Peter was saved; along with the rest of the 12 disciples, the majority of which became martyrs for their belief in Jesus Christ. I pray that someday my faith will be that strong. Similar to the faith of the young high school students at Columbine High School that stood up for what they believed in at gun-point. That’s faith!

Okay, back to my point, I am not perfect and I am frustrated. I’ve been poured into by countless people, I’ve been raised in a household that took me to church, furnished each of us with a Bible, displayed biblical values, etc and I am still NOT perfect and I am still frustrated. Why?

I’ll tell you why: My GPA is pathetic compared to what I am potentially capable of from observing my high school GPA and my previous comprehension capability. My weight is dreadful. At 6’3”, I have some room to be big, but I shouldn’t be the monstrous 270 lbs that I am. I’m EASILY 60 lbs heavier than I was as a 6’2” high school graduate almost 4 years ago. I know the detrimental effects of sin; yet I still go there. I’m convicted and have even written and taught that you either love God and hate sin or you love sin and hate God. But there are still days that I decide that I love sin more than I love my Savior!!!! If there were ever a time I’d like to cuss myself out due to frustration, it’d be now. One more reason, would be that I’m SURROUNDED by people that love and care about me but I will often choose to isolate myself, which leads to depression and far too much time to remember my own flaws.

So there ya have it…Friends, family, followers, readers, and whatever other audience I am potentially forgetting. I am not perfect. I am frustrated, but I am a believer in Jesus Christ as my LORD and Savior. I cry. I love. I sin. I fear. I struggle. I fight. I lose.

This leads to the next chapter of my learning process as a believer though…as mentioned in “The Battle: Dying to Yourself”, I mentioned that the personal pronouns such as “I”, “Me,”, “Mine,” etc were detrimental to us dying to ourselves and allowing Christ to dwell and live within us. So, I will close with a request. Pray that Justin Meyer dies to himself.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth was crucified, buried, and pronounced dead, but He conquered death and was victorious over sin when He rose from the grave!!! If Christ has the reigns, if Christ takes the flesh that I have and uses it for the glory of His Kingdom, then Christ WILL be victorious and I will have been saved from myself. THAT is salvation. That is the truth of the Gospel. That is what makes 2 Corinthians 5:17 possible.

Blessings Family!

P.S. I encourage you to join me in this battle of dying to yourself and allowing Christ to live within you. It truly is a never-ending battle until the day that we are sanctified with Christ upon His second coming, BUT we can experience, freedom, and victory within our lives. It won’t be glamorous, perfect, or pretty. There will be pain, bumps, bruises, and the occasional extra 50 lbs of flesh that needs to be lost. But ask yourself…have you find anything better? Has sex fulfilled you? Has alcoholism made you happy? Do drugs make your life better? Are you saved by self-infliction or self-glorification?

Rally

I’ll pay the price for staying up late and writing this tomorrow but I’m highly motivated and feel it is necessary to write to my peers this evening. Hopefully what I have to say will be an encouragement and a challenge to you! Recently, I’ve filled up a journal that I’ve been keeping for the past 2 years and I’ve taken the time to look back through some of my entries and see the maturing of my heart and the maturing of my closer friends’ hearts. You would be absolutely amazed if you knew my heart about 3 years ago compared to now. I have gentlemen like Wade Keltner and Josh Williams (my Freshmen Connection leaders), Chris Halvorson (Men’s Bible Study Leader in Olathe),  Jason Reynolds, and countless other men that I’ve looked up to throughout my earlier college years to thank for that development! These men, along with the leaders of Student Mobilization and Navigators, have taken it upon themselves to disciple and encourage me through the ups and downs of my freshmen and sophomore years and now as a junior in my fourth year at K-State it is my turn to carry on the legacy of making disciples of the upcoming generation of men.

So, why would I choose to write about this? Well, because I cannot do it alone! If there is anything that I have learned during my college-education, it is that there is strength in numbers! The absolute only reason that I’ve managed to stick to the straight and narrow over the last couple years of my life is due to the countless brothers and sisters in Christ encouraging me during the hard times and challenging me to pursue holiness in every facet of my life. This must continue! It must continue in my life, your life, and our peers desperately need it as well (they just may not know it yet). Otherwise, we are dangerously close to being swept away in the powerful current of the raging river that is our culture. And if you’ve read earlier posts, then you’re well aware of my stance on our culture. It’s filthy, broken, sexualized, and filled with debauchery, drunkenness, and pride. As Christians, we MUST live lives that are counter-cultural. Should we choose to lead lives that are stained by the darkness of sin, then how can we shine brightly in a way that resembles the true and resilient beauty of Christ?!?!

We must remind ourselves daily that as we walk to class, speak with our peers in the locker rooms, interact with professors, and even joke with other brothers and sisters in the faith, that we may be the only example of Jesus that anyone has in their lives. That’s a huge responsibility! We are ambassadors for the coming of our LORD and Savior! As you take these things into consideration, I would encourage you to seek Christ in everything you do. Spend time in His Word, in prayer, and in fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ that are dedicated to keeping you strong.

This brings me to my main point. Da’ T.R.U.T.H. recently released a new track (song) titled, “The Whole Truth” and one of my favorite lines of the song is, “Something supernatural happens when the saints rally!” Think about it…when believers in the LORD band together in prayer, fellowship, and service and have authentic, loving hearts, what obstacle could not be overcome? Faith small as a mustard seed can move mountains! What if…the faith of a few faithful on campus banded together and those seeds actually blossomed into vines that bear fruit! What if…you personally dedicated a few minutes of your time daily to pray over the campus you attend? I wonder what would happen if hundreds of broken hearts were crying out to God and seeking out revival on this campus. God has told believers for millenniums that we have little faith in His ability to provide.

Now if faith small as a mustard seed can move a mountain, don’t you think it would be capable of moving the mountains of people’s stubborn hearts? I am 100% certain that God has the power to change hearts. He’s changed mine.

Allow me to illustrate things in terms of baseball since it’s a sport that I spent at least 10 of my younger years playing. Imagine yourself sitting in the dugout on the Visitor’s bench. The home-team has taken the field and it’s the top of the 9th. Your team has one more shot at overcoming the lead of the opposing team, so the captain of the team places his cap on backwards and proclaims, “Rally caps everyone! This is it! We’re going to proclaim victory over the home team now!” Are you drawing the parallels? As believers in Christ, we are no longer of this world but citizens of Heaven, and therefore visitors of this world for only a short-time, as we have eternal citizenship in the Kingdom to come. The world already has a head-start and currently has the lead, as millions of hearts are lost, thousands of “Christians” live out lukewarm lives, and Satan knocks our brothers off the narrow path. BUT the game isn’t over yet! There’s still the top of the 9th to be played!

Fellow citizens of the household of Christ, I am calling you to join with me and to put on your rally caps! Stand firm in your relationship with Christ, seek the Holy Spirit’s will in prayer, serve your Father in Heaven by serving your peers, lift them up and do not tear them down as the world tears down its own already. Of course, you cannot do this on your own. That’s what the Body is for! That’s why we need to rally! So…will you join the rally? Will you pray over our campus? Will you live out a life that is above reproach? Will we be the generation that witnesses the revival of college campuses across the nation? Only time will tell, but I’m choosing to believe that it is certainly possible if we rally together and place our faith and trust in something far greater than ourselves!

Where Is the Life Change?

Chances are that if you walk into a coffee shop, grocery store, café, music hall, school, or even a local church, 80% of those people or more will claim to be Christians. If you were to take a survey and ask each of them, they would claim that they were saved. By doing so, they would be claiming that they are followers of Christ. After all…it’s in the name….CHRIST-ian. My question is does that 80% of the American world really know who Jesus is? Besides the stories you’ve grown up hearing in Sunday School about the cute and cuddly baby Jesus, or the Jesus shepherding the fluffy sheep, and inviting the kids to come and sit with him, do they REALLY know who Jesus is? Do they KNOW who their Lord is? Do people even understand the weight of Jesus Christ being Lord?

In medieval times the title “Lord” was given to individuals who typically owned a large amount of land and had a particular amount of power. They would provide the citizens of that community with protection and the resources necessary to stay alive and in return the citizens would pledge their loyalty to the Lord and serve him in every way required of them. So is Jesus Christ REALLY the Lord of your life?

So back to who Jesus is….not only is He the Lord, but he’s THE Savior! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came down into the world and took on the human form. He lived in the same body that you and I live in and experienced the world in which we live in. He faced temptations, felt pain, tasted fruit, breathed the air, spat into the dust, and loved. The incredible part about the story though…is that unlike EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US, Jesus Christ of Nazareth NEVER sinned. Not once did he break one of the 10 Commandments. Not once did he waiver from the will of His father. He lived a perfect life for 33 years and in the end was flogged, nailed to a cross, was crucified, died, and was BURIED for YOU!!! His flesh was torn apart because I sinned. He winced in pain as whips lashed his back because you live a life of sexual immorality.

The crazier part…He ROSE FROM THE DEAD three days later, conquering death, so that we, the sinners, the ones that deserve NOTHING short of death can be saved and can have the opportunity to enter into a relationship with Him.

Which brings me back to that social gathering place where 80% of those there will claim to follow this Man, this God, this Lord, Savior, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. How can they claim to know Jesus Christ and then continue living their lives in the same ways that they always have? Why is it that there have been times in my personal life where I’ve gone to youth group and then that VERY SAME afternoon logged online and started viewing pornography, making me guilty of adultery, directly disobeying the Lord. Maybe sexual immorality isn’t your stumbling block….maybe it’s anger. Or maybe you’re prideful and refuse to be humbled, maybe you’re selfish. But my question once again is HOW can you claim to KNOW GOD and NOT live a changed life?

Galations 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of Man, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

I spent hours this summer thinking about this verse and examining my own heart and relationship with Christ. I asked myself, “Do I wake up everyday and decide to die to who I want to be and who I am, so that Jesus Christ can live in me? Does the life that I live reflect who Jesus was and is? And most importantly am I living by faith? Do I BELIEVE that God can do HUMONGOUS things and change the world through ordinary, imperfect people like myself?”

Here’s THE CHALLENGE: Chances are that YOU are in that 80%….chances are that you have claimed to know Christ. Please, I beg you, examine your heart and ask yourself the same questions. Can you look back on your life and pinpoint the moment where you decided to TURN from the ways of this world and TRUST in the Lord, therefore SURRENDERING your life to Him?

James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

My hope and prayer is that you will choose to make the decision to turn from the ways of this world and trust in the Lord and then you will begin to apply Scripture to your daily life, making you CHRIST-like! Isn’t that what it’s about anyways? Having a personal relationship with Christ and becoming more and more like Him as your personal relationship becomes more intimate. Similar to how you pick up some of the mannerisms, catch phrases, and other various characteristics of your close friends…

I’ll leave you with this…Paul Washer often says to “new believers” this…”Do you have a new relationship with sin? Because if you have a new relationship with Christ, you better have a new relationship with sin!” Meditate on those words and by the Grace of God may you die to yourself and LIVE in Christ’s name! I will be praying over every single person that is to come across and read this.

What if…?

For centuries human-beings have never stopped asking questions. Since the beginning of our existence on this planet we have wondered about the existence of the heavens and the stars. We have sought to the find cures for sickness and we have asked philosophical questions about the meaning of our very existence on planet Earth. One of the driving questions of society today is “What if…?” For example, “What if the sun were to stop shining?” “What if our planet ran out of it’s resources?” And for centuries scientists have evaluated hypotheses to see if they could scientifically reach the correct conclusion. “If the sun were removed from the equation, then life could not sustain itself.”

Being a human-being and a curious one at that, I feel myself inclined to ask a “What if…?” question that I believe could change our entire perception of our lives. Are you read for it?…Perhaps you’re not ready just yet, so allow me to provide you with some background and reasoning behind why I feel it is necessary to write this…

A few years ago at Olathe Bible Church (my home church), one of the pastors took us through a series entitled “What if the Church?” To this day, those teachings have stuck with me and I believe have impacted me to the core. It was the kickoff series to a region-wide serve day in the suburb of Kansas City. But you would not believe the absolute incredible impact that it had upon the community. Several neighboring churches jumped on board with the idea and THOUSANDS of people served on the set day. It was incredible to see how the LORD used the obedience of a few pastors to lead their flock towards serving the local community; effectively reflecting the unconditional love of Christ and heart of service that all of God’s children should have.

Provided this background, I believe you are ready for my question…What if those who proclaim to be Christians ACTUALLY lived their lives in a Christ-like way?

I believe it is absolutely fundamental for a believer to desire to be Christ-like. As Christians, you are therefore claiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. There are many “Christians” that do not understand this concept. To them Christianity is simply attending a church service on Christmas and Easter and updating their facebook profile so that it reads “Christian.” I firmly believe that in order to be a legitimate child of the LORD you have to experience a much more significant change. I believe Paul Washer stated it best when he said to someone who claimed to be a new believer, “You think you’re a follower of Christ?…Well do you have a new relationship with sin?”  In another sermon Washer is quoted saying, “The sign of a genuine work of God in the heart is that you begin to hate the sin you once loved and to love the righteousness you once ignored.

Take a minute to take these quotes to heart…and then open up your Bible to 2 Corinthians 5:17, which states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” We must absolutely HATE sin and love Jesus Christ more than anything else in order to follow Him with all of our heart, mind, and soul as we are called to do.

So then, what if…believers were actually Christ-like?

What if…you served? All throughout the Gospels there is example after example of the LORD’s absolutely unconditional love for His children. My favorite is found in John 13. Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, the Messiah, the Savior, The God-man, WASHES his disciples feet! This was a task for the lowest servant in the household. And yet…Jesus got down on his knees and proceeded to wash away the dirt and filth from the feet of his disciples and then says,

“Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me teacher and Lord and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:12-17)

Jesus has instructed us to serve others, so let’s do it! Not with a heart of resentment but with a heart that loves Jesus Christ so much that we desire to display our love for Him via our obedience to His Word. Brothers and sisters, SERVE OTHERS!

What if…the media you watched brought glory to God? There is not a single person that cannot tell me they do not expose themselves to media throughout the day. We live in a culture that is absolutely saturated with media. We love music, films, news, etc. It’s easy to pop in the new action-comedy. It’s easy to spend my day surfing through ESPN and various CNN articles. But what if, instead of watching that action-comedy I soaked in a sermon? What if, instead of listening to the culture-filled hip hop, I listen to Lecrae or the Pearlescent Shepherd’s gospel-filled lyrics? Regardless of what we tell ourselves. Media DOES influence our perception of the world. So let’s be mindful of what we allow into our minds and hearts…

What if…you cared about others? Jesus CARED about others. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, brought light to the dark places, and just overall CARED. Shouldn’t we care?…When was the last time that you said, “How are you doing?” to someone? Next question…when was the last time you actually listened to that person’s response? The greatest gift we can give to others at times is simply listening. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve just needed nothing more than for someone to listen to me. If you see someone is having a rough day, then go out of your way to encourage them! It’ll make a huge difference, I promise.

What if…the church was more than a building? Most churches back in biblical times were simply tabernacles (tents) where people met to celebrate the Sabbath. But they were FAR MORE than that. Churches were COMMUNITIES. They were places where brothers and sisters in Christ came together and encouraged one another. Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron; so one man sharpens another.” In Ephesians 4, Paul writes about the tremendous need for unity within the church-body! So make church more than a building. Make church a community of believers passionately striving to follow Jesus Christ wholeheartedly.

My concluding thoughts lead me to my final question, which is, what would happen if followers of Christ lived out their lives for the glory of God; reflecting His unconditional love to others in every aspect of their lives?

If history teaches us anything, then I believe the answer is revival would be found within the church. When a community of believers actually live their lives out in faith, when Christians are on their knees crying out to the Most High God, and when we live our lives in a continuous state of joy, THINGS HAPPEN. Incredible things happen. The joy within the body of Christ is contagious. The church growth is exponential and unstoppable. And suddenly even the largest obstacles that Satan could possibly muster up could not defuse the on-fire spirits of these Christ-followers!

Ok, I lied, one last question…

With these things in mind…what are you waiting for?…Let’s take the teachings of Jesus to heart! Let’s live our lives for Him and NEVER look back!

Blessings and Happy Easter to all,

Justin Meyer