Monday, January 28, 2008

Pastor David Foster is the man!

Great post that I read on his myspace. David Foster gets it and I love the example that He is setting for young leaders. Enjoy the list below about the Jesus kind of spirituality and let it challenge and encourage you today...

10 Distinctive Characterisitics of a Jesus Kind of Spirituality

We live in a time that the word "Christian" has lost its meaning, or has at least been changed in its meaning. For some it means a political party, a moral stance. For others it means a life of following Jesus.

I thought I'd draw these contrasts between religion and what it means to be a follower of Jesus, because we're still asking the big "Why?" questions and we need real answers. Here we go:

1. Religion says, "be good. Jesus says, "be honest." Be good means to lie about how I'm really doing on the inside because I want other people to think I'm better than I am. Be honest means humble yourself before God and confess that you're broken and can't fix yourself.

2. Religion says, "change." Jesus says, "be changed." Anyone who has tried to break a seriously bad habit knows how hard it is to change. Jesus said the only way to really change is to have a new heart and that's what He offers.

3. Religion says, "perform." Jesus says, "bear fruit." In religion you're accepted for what you do. Your performance is really important. It doesn't matter the content of your heart necessarily, just that you perform in the right way. Jesus said it's about bearing fruit; that your good works need to come from a deep, good place. Good roots bear good fruit.

4. Religion says, "obey me." Jesus says, "follow me." Let's be honest, we can force obedience. We can make it that life's so uncomfortable. But follow me is a decision, again, made in the heart and lived out through the life.

5. Religion says, "divide up." Jesus says, "unite." Jesus' one prayer to The Father that we've denied Him, is that we would be one. We divide up over denominations, over petty theological differences, and when we do, no one wins.

6. Religion, again, says "obey." Jesus says, "repent." The idea of repentance means you change your mind. And when you've changed your mind, you've turned your life around. In other words, it's not being sorry you got caught, it's being broken, that you could ever do something as bad as what you've done.

7. Religion says, "be right." Jesus says, "be real." We focus so much on wanting to be right that we argue and clash with people. And when we do that, we may win the argument, but we lose the relationship. Being real says, "I know what I believe, but you matter more than making my point." Being real is being willing to say that I could be wrong and you could be right. Again it's based on that humility thing we talked about earlier.

8. Religion says, "caught ya." Jesus says, "go and sin no more." Religion wants to list your sins and how you've fallen, what you're not doing that you must do, how often you read your Bible and go to church; this long list of things. It's a legalistic way of living. Jesus said, just simply go and leave your life of sin; leave that thing for something better. It is what we need, a true life change that leads us to a better place because we want to be there, not because we fear hell.

9. Religion says, "try." Jesus says, "trust." No one is ever justified before God because of his or her good works. No matter how hard you try, you cannot climb the ladder to heaven. It just doesn't work. Everyone who makes it will make it on the basis of trust; trusting Jesus for who He said He was and is, receiving His righteousness by faith and standing justified by God and adopted into His family.

10. Religion says, "do." Jesus says, "done." This is a huge difference. I know this is huge because I've dealt with people all my adult life, thousands of them, who are trapped in this do to be mentality. I have to do to be accepted, to be loved, to be promoted, to be chosen, to be picked, and to be valued. I have to look a certain way, talk a certain way. I have to have a degree from a certain college in order to be in the "in" crowd.

What a contrast in Jesus who said, "Your life is based on what I've done. I've done the real hard work. I've done the suffering and the dying so that you may do the living and the rejoicing." What a different way of living!

Hey, if you've merely got religion, I'd trade it for Jesus. Just because a thing is religious, and just because it has "Christian" stamped on the front of it, doesn't mean that it's safe for consumption. Test things, not by my attitude or a denomination's last press release, but by the simple life and words of Jesus.