Welcome to REAL Men RoCK

This blog is about the issues men face and things I have experienced.

I hope you will be encouraged, challenged, and stirred to take action.

Proverbs 27:17 (The Message)

17 You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another

REAL Men RoCK

R
ighteous   E ncouraging   A ccountable   L oving 

Men 

R
ely on    C hrist's   K indness

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Fun Day with my Granddaughter

The other day I spent the day with my granddaughter and we went out and took some photos. We then went home and did some editing using PhotoScape. Here are the original photos.

                                                                                                                                                         

PhotoScape results 

                                                                             

So what does any of this have to do with REAL Men RoCK? Glad you asked. REAL Men RoCK is all about men becoming Righteous, Encouraging, Accountable, Loving Men Relying on Christ's Kindness. Spending the day with my granddaughter showed her love because I spent time with her and taught her something new. The result is the last picture. She felt safe enough to have fun in the end with my photo which was taken on our Sand Dunes trip.

I could have spent my day doing something else or doing nothing at all. Even though we did not get to do all of the things we had planned it was a priceless day.   

While you still have the opportunity make a child feel special this coming week by spending some of your time with them.  I think you will be glad you did. 

I did this one myself.                                                                                                              

What is that One Thing?

Several years ago I went to a men's conference and the speaker asked this question during one of his sermons: "What one thing keeps you from doing what God has made you for?" My good friend, Doug Walton, would often talk about "what is the one thing that holds us back from being all that God wants us to be?"

Some of you who read my blog are experiencing feeling defeated or overwhelmed by some weakness or sin that you have. I know the feelings you are having because I have been there and at times still experience temporary feelings like that.

I do not have great words of wisdom of my own for you but I do have some words that helped me. These scriptures helped me and I believe they will give you encouragement and help too. I don't promise that everything will be taken care of instantly but little by little things will get better if you trust in the One who Created us. May the Holy Spirit give you strength through these words.

1 John 4: 4 (New American Standard Bible)  You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

Romans 12: 21 (New American Standard Bible)  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Psalms 23: 4........I will fear no evil, for you are with me Lord, Your Word and Your Spirit comfort me.

Here is a promise from God:  Hebrews 13: 5 (New International Version)  Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

I hope you found encouragement in this post.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reconciliation of Being Rubbed or Doing the Rubbing.

This was first posted at A Community Chaplain

Our local small town news paper has an article each week called "From the Pulpit". This week's message written by Pastor Erik Kingsley of the New Life Family Church was a good one about how hard it is today to do some of the things Jesus told us to do.

He shared a story about a man who recently accepted Jesus as his savior. The man told those attending: "If you see me stumbling in my Christian walk, do me a favor...Instead of talking about me, come talk to me." Pastor Erik goes on to add, "It's good Biblical protocol. Unfortunately, it's getting more and more difficult to put into practice every single day."

He went on to talk about how blogs, email, Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, etc. has made it acceptable to talk about people in a fictional sense. Talking about them instead of talking to them.

I must admit that what I write about here are real experiences suffered at the hands of real people. I share those events that either I have done or that others have done to me or to others. I do not share names of people involved or the locations the events took place because that is not what is important. What is important is the event itself and the results of it on the lives of people involved. If by chance someone thinks they know who I am talking about then they themselves are guilty of placing the event with a person and it is either based on something they think they know or some actual knowledge.

In Pastor Erik's article he references Jesus words found in  Matthew 18: 15 "And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. Verse 16 says this: "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed." Verse 17: "And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church: and if he refuses to listen to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax gather."

Unfortunately every now and then I have experienced going to someone and they did not listen but instead pointed the matter back at me. The times I have gone to a leader, especially a Christian leader, and shared with them something I felt they did and they did not listen to what I shared and instead told me how it must be my problem they dug the wound a little deeper.

The truth is not listening is a very human thing that we all do. We do not want to hear something about behavior or attitudes that we have that have wounded other people. 

I will close this post talking about Reacting and Responding. When someone actually does what Matthew 18 says and shares with us something we have done we either react or respond to what is said.  Reacting comes from not hearing the words but hearing the criticism. Responding comes from hearing the words and considering that they might be true or maybe partly true with a little of old wounds having been rubbed. 

It might be good to let the person say what they wanted to share and instead of replying to it at the moment ask the person if you could meet with them again in a day or two. Then take the next few days to pray about what our part is in the situation and what wounds the other person might have that we have reopened. In Matthew 5: 23-24 Jesus said this: "If therefore, you are presenting your offering at the alter, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the alter, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering."

In both of these passages Jesus is pointing out that the most important thing is that an attempt is made to reconcile. What we often do is either not hear someone's complaint against us or we cover up what we have done.

Here at REAL Men RoCK I write about those experiences either I or someone else has had without sharing who caused them or in what city they took place. I do so because they happen in every city, small town, in every business, every church and every organization. Who and where is not important. What is important is sharing ideas for solving what took place.

If you are reading this and you are applying it to someone right now then you need to either practice Matthew 18: 15 or Matthew 5: 23-24. The sad thing is many Christians who know and quote these scriptures do not always practice them.

Imagine for a moment if we did. The results from practicing Matthew 5: 23-24 and Matthew 18: 15 would be many lost relationships would be regained because reconciliation would have been attempted. As Christians we have a responsiblity even if we have been hurt to attempt to reconcile with the other person and if we don't we share in the guilt of not seeking reconciliation.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Church - Part II

Sometimes what I write gets me in trouble with other pastors but oh, well here I go again.

Stats show that 52% of the people in our county do not identify with a church and that many of the other 48% do not attend church on a regular basis. My question is why?

I think there are some answers to that question which will tic off some pastors and Christians. Not long ago I heard in a meeting this phrase, "There is a glitch in the system and that glitch is you!" I think that can be applied to the state of the church today. The reason many do not identify or attend church is looks us in the mirror every morning.

As I was trying to go to sleep this thought hit me so I had to get up and write it. "Sunday morning is the most superficial day of the whole week. Many of the people who attend church each week are pretending to be something they are not." Harsh words? No, it is the truth. I know I have lived it and I watch it weekly. 

In America today what do most men hear when they hear a pastor speak? "They hear us saying one thing but watch us living another." They hear, "Quit being greedy but then they see a pastor focus on money." They hear, "Quit being number one and then they watch as the pastor pulls into his or her own parking place close to the front door." They hear, "We want men involved but then they are expected to leave their manhood at the front door."

On Sunday mornings people walk into churches where very few people are being real and many are playing a Sunday morning role. When Sunday rolls around people put on their Sunday appearance and behavior. They suddenly become saints and unreal but once services are over they easily slip back into the old clothes of life. Many who know us Monday through Saturday would not recognize us Sunday morning.

I believe that many more would attend if they knew and felt that church was a place where the sinner could find healing for their brokenness. Where they found that Matthew 9: 12-13 and Mark 10: 41-45 were the foundation for all ministry.

Matthew 9: 12-13

(Message) Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders."

(New American Standard) But when Jesus heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. "But go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Mark 10: 41-45

41 Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. 42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 "But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

I believe everyone wants to belong to something real. Sinners will come to a church where they know that sin is addressed in an honest convicting way but without condemnation. They will come if they know that long time believers who have been changed by the Holy Spirit welcome them in their filthy rags and who will walk with them as they change.

I am going to post this now but will be updating it over the next few days as the Holy Spirit leads me.

Update 7/23/10: What I am saying about being artificial on Sunday mornings is we walk into church trying to hide our brokenness. When we do that we give the impression to those who are new one that they cannot relate to or hope to reach. If they were to secretly watch many of us during the other days they would see a much different person than they see Sunday mornings.

What they should be seeing is a person who the Holy Spirit working in and who admits they struggle with issues of life. 

Update 7/25/10: I asked the question www.BlogCatalog.com "What is your response to the word church" and I have gotten almost 90 response from people and most have not been positive. I am saddened by some of the responses because the church has not always been what Jesus would want us to be.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Struggle


While on our vacation in Colorado my grandson decided to climb up this sand hill. As I watched him I got the idea for this blog. The first photo is of him moving up the hill  shot from below. I moved around to  get a different point  of view which is where I got the idea for this blog.

From my first view point I was down below him and I was just watching his struggle. Have you ever found yourself watching someone else's struggle as if you were below or above them? Your vision of what was going on was from either being above or below what was happening. Because of that you approached their struggle from that prospective.

As I moved around to get a photo from a side view I had to struggle up the adjacent hill. Now the struggle my grandson was going through I was experiencing in my own life.

When we have friends who are struggling with an addiction or some other major problem in their lives we can better understand it if we get intimately involved. What I mean by that we better understand if we have struggled with a similar problem or if we take the risk and come along side of them as they struggle. Getting our hands dirty in their lives and giving them our time and attention.

As my grandson struggled up the hill we were on another hill yelling encouragement to him as he moved up the hill. The struggle got harder not easier as he reached the summit but because of the encouragement he did not give up and eventually reached the top.

Your friend that is struggling will receive new strength when they hear your words of encouragement from you. 

As a Christian I believe our true strength comes from the involvement of the Holy Spirit in our lives but God almost always works through the lives of other  believers.

 

My grandson reached a point higher than the rest of us and as he came down the hill it showed on his face and walk. The same will take place in your friend by hanging in there and by not giving up they will reach the summit. and then they will celebrate with you the victory. 

I encourage you to not move away from a friend who is struggling. Move toward them and risk getting involved in the mess of their life. You could be just the person God wants to use in helping them gain victory over their problems.

If you do you just might share in their celebration of freedom.


Monday, July 19, 2010

The Church


Just what does the word church mean? When most of us think about church we get an image of a building. Whether it be a big or small building does not matter but we often have an image of a building such as this small country church. 

In Matthew 16: 18 Jesus says this about the church: "You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out."

Sometimes people take this scripture and say that Jesus was saying that the church would be built by Peter. But if we look closer by looking at the Amplified Bible version we will find that Jesus was actually saying that Peter was a piece of a rock but the church would be built on a large rock.

Matthew 16: 18 (Amplified Bible) 18 And I tell you, you are [a]Peter [Greek, Petros--a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra--a [b]huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the [c]infernal region) shall [d]not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it]. 

From this scripture we see that the foundation for the church is Jesus and it is on His power that it is built and it survives. He is the head of the church as we find in Ephesians 5: 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is head of the church, He Himself being Savior of the body.

So the question again is what is this thing called the church and where should it meet?

In 1 Corinthians 12 we are told about Spiritual gifts being given to the body (verse 27-28). Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. These types of gifts are given to people so we have to conclude that the church is a body of people. This scripture also clearly shows that within that body there are gifts for adminsitration, teaching and so forth. What most people call the church, the organization, is really then the offices that are suppose to minister to the church body (the people). To make it clear the church is not the organization or the building but the people God has called to that organization housed in the building.

So where should a church meet? What does the temple look like? Before I continue go grab a hand mirror and take a long look at your face. You might have lines under your eyes or along your lips. You might have pimples and other blimishes of the skin. You are not a perfect example of mankind. But.... 2 Corinthians 6: 14-18 says: Don't become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That's not partnership; that's war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God's holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way: "I'll live in them, move into them; I'll be their God and they'll be my people. So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good," says God. "Don't link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for myself. I'll be a Father to you; you'll be sons and daughters to me." The Word of the Master, God." The person who you saw in the mirror is part of the body called the church.

You see we are the church and we are God's temple. The church then is wherever we are and wherever we are Christ is there also.  Matthew 18: 20 "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

So the church can meet in many different locations. A building such as above, a large mega-church building or even in a building that is not often looked upon as a church. One of my favorite places to meet is called Homer's, a coffee house, located in Overland Park, KS.

Where one or two or more gather is not nearly as important as the act of getting together. Earlier we touched on that the body is given different gifts. If you look at Paul's description of these gifts he uses body parts to shows us the importance of these gifts.

It is in this scripture we also find why it is important for us to gather. You hav ebeen given a gift or gifts that I do not have. By us getting together whether over coffee or in corporate worship I can benefit from being around you and the gifts God's Holy Spirit has given to you and vise versa.

In the Kansas county of Miami there are about 30,000 people and according to stats about 14,245 people claim association with a church organization. That means approximately 15,755 do not claim association with any church body. Many of the 14,245 people who do claim an association with a church body do not attend church weekly.

I believe the church organization needs to make contact with the 53% of the people in the county who do not attend much less claim an association to the church. The church needs to find out why they do not attend and help them move towards God. 

My image of a church is a place where messy lives come together to touch each other through using the gifts they have been given. Of course there is more than that to church. Pick up that mirror again. What I want you to realize is that the person in the miror with all his or her imprefections is the church called the body of Christ. You have a valuable part to contribute to the lives of the rest of the body. Coming to church is not to get your Hell insurance but for helping others as they journey towards the Kingdom. By the way they ain't perfect either.

I encourage you to check out the churches in our area and be encouraged when a new one pops up even if it is meeting in a coffee house or some other unusual place.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Are You Guilty of Adultery?

I am sure that most of the guys who read this blog, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or whatever have never been involved in committing adultery. Or have you?
Let's look at the definition of adultery which is found at Dictionary.com: voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse.
Ok, so you and I may not have committed the physical act of adultery but are we still guilty of the thought process involved? Most religions would tell us that it is wrong to have sexual relations with someone who is not our wife and definitely not with the wife of another man. Christianity is no different but Jesus took it a step farther. We find His statement on adultery in Matthew 5.
Matthew 5: 27-28 "You know the next commandment pretty well, too: 'Don't go to bed with another's spouse.' But don't think you've preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt."
If we look at the Old Testament figure of David who is described as a man after God's heart. we will find the steps involved in committing adultery. 2 Samuel 11: 2-4 One late afternoon, David got up from taking his nap and was strolling on the roof of the palace. From his vantage point on the roof he saw a woman bathing.
1st: David was being idle and not doing his job. He was King and he should have been off with his men defending the kingdom.
The woman was stunningly beautiful.
2nd: David looked upon her beauty. The indication here is he not only looked at her but did a double take.
David sent to ask about her, and was told, "Isn't this Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite?"
3rd: David sent someone to gather some more information about her.
David sent his agents to get her.
4th: David sent one of his servants to bring her to the palace.
After she arrived, he went to bed with her. 
5th: David allowed his admiration of her beauty to become sexual contact.
Guys lets be honest we notice a beautiful woman. That is not the problem here. The problem is the second and the third look. The problem is after the second or third look we begin to imagine what she looks like undressed which then leads us to imagining having sexual contact with her.
That is what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 5. Once we reach that point we are as guilty as if we actually did have sex with her.
Jesus makes it clear that the sin does not begin as we undress a woman nor as we have sex with her. The sin begins within our hearts and minds.
I have to confess I have been guilty believing the lie that the sin is in the physical. Men sin begins way before anything physically is stirred in you. I do not care what religious or non-religious back ground you have you are still capable of falling into this trap.  I encourage you to ask God to send another man into your life who can come along side of you and fight this battle with lust. 
Note: This post was stirred in me by a sermon given at Vineyard Church by Lead Pastor Mark Warner.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Turn the stuff off and have fun

This is a photo of me and my two of my grandkids, Daks and Spencer. We are resting from attempting to climb to one of the highest points of the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado. 

Climbing the dunes is like facing the obstacles that life throws your way. You have to find the best route and stick with it even when it seems the going is too hard. Stick with it and make the most out of what you have but most of all enjoy life.

We did not make it to the top but we had fun trying and we certainly enjoyed the hike to where we are in this photo. 

With this post I want to plant in your heart the desire to turn off the television, unplug the XBox and sit down and plan a trip together.

I am 60 years old and I have no idea how long God will allow me to live and so this trip to Colorado was important to me.

I also want to warn you not to do some of the things I did while on this trip. I got uptight a couple of times over things that really did not matter. My attitude briefly killed the enjoyment we were having. Chill out and enjoy the time you have with those you love. 

Our last day in the area we went out to eat at Nino's Mexican Restaurant. We had hoped to go to Oscar's but it was closed so we went to Nino's. We ate on the outdoor patio area. Great food and atmosphere. We topped our meal with a large fried ice cream.

I think you can see we had a fun time at Nino's.

Go ahead take the risk and plan a trip with your family and discover what fun it can be without television, XBox or even Ipods. You just might find that you had more fun without those things than you do with them.

I hope my wife, my daughter and my G-Kids had a terrific time and are like me ready to go on another trip together.                                                                                                              

It was tough but someone had to do it.


                                         

Friday, July 16, 2010

Are You a Minister of Reconciliation?

In 2 Corinthians 5: 18 we are told this by Paul: All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

Let's look deeper at this passage by looking at it in relationship to the verses before and after it and then apply it to our lives.

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. 12 We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you.  14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

We are told that we are to be new creatures once we accept Jesus as our savior. That does not mean we instantly overcome all of our hurts, wounds and sins but it does mean we are actively working on them. 

We are told that we become ministers of reconciliation. Which means we are to take the risk of reconciling with people who are honestly seeking our forgiveness and who are pursuing reconciliation with us. It is a risk because it means we open ourselves up to being hurt again by trusting someone who hurt us before. 

If you have felt the sting of having another person break your trust you no doubt have a wound in your spirit from the experience. If that person comes to you and apologizes and wants to reconcile you have the obligation to take the risk to at least begin the process of reconciliation.

You have the right to evaluate the intentions of the other person and stop the process if they appear to not be honest in their intentions. You do not have the right to ignore them as they reach out to you.

If Jesus is your savior He has reconciled you to God and by doing so has made you a minister of reconciliation to others. Failure to respond to another person's cry for reconciliation becomes a roadblock to your blessings that result from reconciliation.

I encourage you to consider the request for reconciliation from a person who has hurt. Pray about it. Seek counseling about it. But do not ignore the person's cry. You harm not only the other person by yourself and the blessings God has in store for you when you reconcile.

If you are a pastor and you are not reaching out to someone who has hurt you and seeking reconciliation then you are missing an opportunity to show the church this passage in action. As leaders we are to model the Bible not just teach it.

I will be honest with you about what stirred this post. I broke the trust of another person. The Holy Spirit convicted me of my actions and I have apologized not only to the person but to others who might have been harmed. I have offered to meet and talk and rebuild our relationship. Notice I did not say rebuild trust because I know that is harder to do. I have received no response from this individual except for them to remind me of my sin. 

In my blog I write about my experiences and the wounds I have. I have been wounded by leaders who fail to be leaders. I have been wounded by men who say one thing to the church but live a different way. Ignoring my cry for reconciliation by a man who is suppose to be a leader only reinforces the experiences I have had with leaders. Many years ago I told my brother I would never lead people in the way that those past leaders led me. This experience only reinforces that pledge.

I hope this touches both those who have been offended and those who have offended. Do not put off doing what the Holy Spirit through Paul instructed us to do. Be a minister of reconciliation.

Friday, July 9, 2010

More Photos of the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado

My name is Larry and I am the author of REAL Men RoCK. The following photos are of my trip with my wife, Kat, and our daughter and her children to the Great Sand Dunes in  Colorado.








                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

           

                             I have many more photos of our trip but I believe these photos sum up our trip. It was a fun adventure which we all enjoyed and will have long lasting memories of. 

         I encourage you to plan an adventure with your family this summer and get away from the daily grind of work and responsibilities and enjoy your loved ones. 

May God bless you and your family.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Look at a Radical Religion

There is a following that has a point of view totally opposite that of the majority of the world. It views itself in a life and death struggle. A struggle which ends up with self sacrifice and rewards in the Kingdom.

I want to share some reasons this religion is radical compared to the rest of the world.

1. The very first thing that makes it radically different than any other religion is found in a book called Ephesians of the Christian Bible. Ephesians 2:  7-10 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

Most religions have mankind doing the work to gain favor with god but in this verse God tells us of a radically different approach. It is He that grants salvation and He does it because He wants to give it to us. All we have to do is accept the fact that He made it possible and that we had nothing to do with it. That my friend is radically different than any other religion.

2. In Acts we are told that followers of Christ can be filled with the Holy Spirit. We are told that God lives in us in Romans 8: 9-11 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God's terms. It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ's!

That is radically different than anything other religions teach.

3. In 1 Corinthians 12 we are told that the Holy Spirit of God grants us gifts to use in service to others. Most religions talk about you using your natural gifts in service to others but here God gives you gifts (talents) for service.

4. Leaders are told how to live in Mark 10: 42-45 41-45When the other ten heard of this conversation, they lost their tempers with James and John. Jesus got them together to settle things down. "You've observed how godless rulers throw their weight around," he said, "and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It's not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage."

5. According to this religion God has chosen to make His temple within the hearts of His followers. 2 Corinthians 6: 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."

All other religions sets god apart from the individual but in following Jesus Christ we are told He has chosen to have a personal relationship with us and that His Holy Spirit is in the Holy Temple of God, which is those who accept Jesus as their savior.

6. In direct conflict with everything this world encourages people to do and be God tells us the most radical of all things in Matthew 5: 1-12 

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said: 

 3 "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. 

 4 "You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. 

 5 "You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought. 

 6 "You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat. 

 7 "You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for. 

 8 "You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. 

 9 "You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family. 

 10 "You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. 

 11-12 "Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

God tells us that we are blessed because we maintain our faith in Him as we endure the trails of life. 

Being a follower of Jesus puts you in direct conflict with the rest of the world and it makes you look radically different.

The question for us is this: "When the world sees us do they see a Radical?"

Note: I am sure there are other radical traits of a follower of Jesus Christ and I encourage you to add your own as a comment.

Thursday, July 1, 2010