Our society loves community and connectedness. This is why social media drains more battery from our phones than any other app. It’s why we buy things based on user reviews and comments instead of price and research. It’s why we text people who aren’t with us while we have people with us. And the best part? We are who we want to be. And yet, we’re lonely and collectively, we feel less known than any generation before us. Jesus calls us to a different way...a better way. Jesus calls us to refuse to solo and join an ensemble.
For centuries people have been trying to live like Jesus and they've employed all kinds of tactics to do so. Most of these tactics involve volumes of reading and hours of classes, leading to tons of knowledge about God. Unfortunately, we've forgotten that being like Jesus is more about being than knowing. And Jesus? He didn't bring a clipboard, He brought a towel...serving others.
How many opportunities in your life have you missed out on because you were too scared to ask? May I borrow your...? Are you available Friday night? Will you come with me to...? The list is probably long. Next question: how many people are not sitting in church this week because you were too scared to invite them? Too often, that list is even longer. If we want to make our church their church, we have to Make The Ask.
They're late...again. That person is a part of everyone's life, aren't they? They can't seem to ever get to wherever it is they're going on time. For some, they're late to faith, too. They've heard about it, they maybe even grew up in it, but they just haven't "shown up" yet. Good news: there was one Ragamuffin who was a Johnny-Come-Lately too...and he wrote most of the New Testament!
Have you ever felt that your story doesn't measure up? Your story isn't exciting; it doesn't have a big "Come to Jesus" moment; and you've been going to church your entire life. The problem is that we're comparing our stories when we should be comparing something else...something that will change the equation entirely. Just know that Jesus' band of Ragamuffins included the "day-ones."
Everyone knows who Judas is. Even if you haven't been a church-goer for very long, his name is synonymous with betrayal and deception. All of that comes from the end of his story; but what happened leading up to that end? Who was this treacherous person and why did Jesus invite him to be part of his team?
Quick! What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear...Christian? For many, it's hypocrite. What comes to mind when you hear hypocrite? Judgmental. You'll never guess who the first person to make that connection was.
"Measure twice, cut once." Any good carpenter will tell you that's the number one rule to live by. We don't live like that though, do we? We're impulsive and will often cut before we've even measured once. Surely Jesus wouldn't want such reckless individuals who have made so many mistakes...right? Wrong.
Doubt can be scary. It hits unexpectedly, can shake us to our core and cause us to rethink everything we thought we knew. Even worse, it can make us feel guilty. But what if that's not how Jesus views our doubt? What if there's more to our faith than just having the right answers?
Have you ever felt like you aren't good enough to follow Jesus? Maybe you get hung up on your past or are frustrated that you're not where you should be in life. But what if you're looking at it all wrong? What if following Jesus is more about who you're becoming than who you've been? What if, despite your ragamuffin appearance, Jesus is inviting you to join the journey of a lifetime?