What is the Way to Real Life?: renunciation and realization with Jesus Christ

Celtic Cross

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes. (Psalm 17:6-7)

Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:37-39)

To take refuge in God through Jesus Christ is to forsake all other “lives” so that we might truly live in Him. The things and people we associated with those other “lives” are radically revalued in light of absolute allegiance to Christ as well as the absolutely more true love found in God through Him.

We find that all other lives were not really life as be behold the glory of the Lord and step forward to follow Jesus. “The old has gone and the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17) “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

In our daily lives, we begin the day—and continue through the day—with renunciation and realization. By faith we renounce our selves as king and realize that God is King. We renounce our will for the day—whether good or evil—and realize God’s will for the day, which is supreme. We renounce our approach to others—whether well-intentioned or wrong-intentioned—so that we might hear and follow (realize) God’s approach to others. We die to ourselves, our possessions, our relations, our dreams—whether we evaluate them as good or bad in light of God’s revealed truth—that we might live to God in Jesus Christ. We live toward His ideal life for our, our relationships, our possessions, our dreams, not our own.

First the cross, then the crown. First renunciation, then realization. This pattern defines our living minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. Any other way is not the Jesus way and, therefore, is not life. But here, in this way of the Cross, we will find what Jesus promised: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

A Morning Prayer of Closeness to God

“Let the dawn bring news
of Your unfailing love
for I put my trust in You.
Show me the road
that I must travel
for You to relieve my heart.”

(Psalm 143:8, NJB)

Early in the morning I draw away
to be only with You.
The time seems to move too quickly
and I know I must step toward what comes next.
But here, in this treasured hour,
this spot of rest and place of being,
I draw near to You—
to hear from You,
to savor You,
to delight in You,
to rest in Your love,
and to share my love with You.
I have nothing in me that is good
save the goodness You planted in me.
Neither am I overcome by evil
because You lavished grace upon me.
Keep me close to You today, God,
for You are my true joy, life, and peace.

A Prayer for the Road of Life with Jesus

“Let the dawn bring news
of Your unfailing love
for I put my trust in You.
Show me the road
that I must travel
for You to relieve my heart.” (Psalm 143:8, NJB)

“Jesus said, ‘I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me.” (John 14:6, Message)

You who have called me to follow You,
take me into Your Road—Your Way.
Lead me away from other ways
that I might find Your truth and Your life
as I walk within Your road.

I admit that many times I seek Your life
apart from Your Road,
doing damage to my own soul and others
by trying to calm new wine into old wineskins.

Forgive me, LORD, and show me again
the Road that I must travel
to find Your peace, Your truth, and Your life.

Open my eyes when I become blind.
Open my ears when I become deaf.
Guide my feet when I lose my bearings.
And strengthen my heart when I lose courage.

I am Yours, and I rest in Your road
and Your truth and Your life.

The Good News of the Resurrected One [The Good News of Jesus]

Jesus Series GFX_App SquareAs we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at Eastbrook Church, we begin a two-week exploration of “The Good News of Jesus.” This first weekend, with our Easter celebration, we turn our attention to the account in John 20:1-10 about Jesus’ empty tomb.

While so much could be said about Jesus’ resurrection, in my message this past weekend at Eastbrook, “The Good News of the Resurrected One,” I brought three specific aspects of Jesus’ resurrection into focus:

  • light overwhelming darkness
  • freedom overcoming prisons
  • life overpowering death

You can view the message video and sermon outline below. You can follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.

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Wisdom and Knowledge

2014-11-13 13.14.09We have information without knowledge, and the knowledge we have does not lead us to wisdom.

Wisdom is fashioned through reflection upon the crucible of living with knowledge, inadequate knowledge, or lack of knowledge.

Yet, the crucible of life is often that against which we medicate ourselves or from which we insulate ourselves.

We arch our backs like a baby in pain or discomfort doing whatever we can to avoid the crucible of life.

We seek the ecstasies of life through the pathways of thrill-seeking and the pleasure-dome, yet the rude reality is that this ecstasy ceases to be ecstatic when we attempt to maintain it perpetually.

What we are truly seeking to attain is satisfaction, joy, and contentment but it is incredibly elusive.

Why is it that the things we pursue so diligently fail to satisfy us when we finally attain them?

Why are so many lottery winners depressed?

Why do famous people often feel so empty?

Why is it that the toy a child so desperately wanted for Christmas sits neglected in a corner of a closet just a few months later?

What are we searching for and how do we find it, maintain it, and live in it?

If we knew what it is would that help us, guide us, or merely torture us?

Would we know how to convert our searching into wisdom or merely languish in something else?