Just Jesus.

Do you have a favorite t-shirt?

One of my all-time favorites was one I bought the summer God began to turn my world upside down and move me out of the band room into the pastor’s study.

The shirt was a plain gray shirt with two words on the front and two on the back.

Just Jesus

Nothing More

It came from a song we sang that week at camp. It was written by the worship leader for the week, Tom Duckett. I’ve looked all over for the recording but cannot find it. The lyrics were so beautifully simple that I remember them still.

Only Jesus paid the price for me

Only His love could set me free

Nobody else could open heaven’s door

Just Jesus and nothing more

I’ve been reminded of this as we spent so much time in Philippians 3 this weekend and we heard Paul saying that knowing Jesus was the thing that mattered. In fact, he testified that all of the rest of his accomplishments and experiences and hopes and dreams and aspirations were like a pile of garbage (or worse) in comparison.

It seems that, if you asked him what in all the world he wanted, Paul’s answer would have been, “Just Jesus, nothing more.”

I am finding more and more that, when I passionately press in to know Jesus, He seems to do things in me and through me that I cannot do. He teaches others things I cannot teach. He loves others in ways I cannot love. He speaks words of comfort and peace and hope that I cannot speak.

And when I look at what He commanded, I see that the essence of it all was to love Him with all that I am and to love others like I’m inclined to love myself. But I wrestle with the question: how can I be focused on Him and loving to others at the same time?

I think maybe I’m starting to get it. When I am so heart-soul-mind-strength focused on Jesus, He goes around loving others and I come along. He goes to my neighbor and serves Him and I come along. He does the things I cannot do and directs the steps I don’t know how to take and speaks the words that I have no way to express.

And what do I get?

I get what I most desperately need and most desperately long for and most desperately hope for…

Just Jesus.

Nothing more.

Because when we get Jesus, everything else melts away in insignificance.

I’m convinced that the work He wants to do in transforming my life is not about me. It’s for you. He wants to transform me to serve you. And He wants to transform you to serve another.

And in it all we get the key to everything – Jesus Himself.

I have come to understand that genuine love does what is best for the one loved. John told us that God so loved the world that He gave us what we most needed—Himself.

What do you need? Really?

Just Jesus.

Nothing More.

The Mess of Lack

If God has come to us, here in this world, why is there so much need?

When we look at John’s account of Jesus feeding 5000 people, I believe we can see some important things.

Jesus came into the mess of our lack and brought abundance.

See Him. See that Jesus is our great PROVISION, not just our Provider.

Believe Him. Believe that will both BE and PROVIDE what we truly need.

Know Him. Know Him as God in the Mess of your Lack.

We…but Not Me

Once again God is using my kids as a tool for teaching me, growing me, stretching me…and it’s not comfortable.

Through their very different and very passionate and indeed honorable perspectives, I am challenged to look deeper at the circumstances our nation is facing and try to see past myself.

I hear people on one side of the political spectrum staunchly insisting that we must go and do what is needed to eradicate a hideous threat to peace and genuine freedom in the world. I’d like that…but…being a father of a soldier, I seem to see it differently than I did a few months ago. Before, saying “we must” didn’t risk what is precious to me.

I hear people on the other side of the spectrum feverishly arguing that we have a moral obligation as a nation to take in those who flee from the very threat that they have witnessed first hand and provide for their needs regardless of the cost. But, like many of us trying to make ends meet in a difficult economy, I don’t know how to squeeze more tax dollars out of what I have. Saying “we must” is easy when it doesn’t risk my comfort.

I think that’s the core of many of our issues. I am so quick to say “we” when I really mean “they.” Continue reading We…but Not Me