As for me, the cross is at the center of my faith, belief and theology, the death and resurrection of Jesus is the foundation to how I read, study and understand Scripture .

Without the cross and the resurrection, there is no Gospel, the Apostle Paul sums it up like this, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor 15:14 ESV), “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14 ESV).

What Jesus accomplished on the cross and through His resurrection is central to everything to my life and faith for me. The death and resurrection of Jesus are not only central to Scripture and the Gospel, but are also central to learning who God is, what God is like, and how we are supposed to live our lives as followers of Jesus.

I believe that the key to learning scripture, about the Christian life is to see everything through the lens of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection.

I am still learning about the infinite ramifications of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and will continue to so all my life, and will continue to be surprised by new revelation and understanding till that which is perfect comes back, Jesus, or I stand before Him in heaven. Because I have only just began comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth of the gospel.

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I am not a get to church “just in time person”, and I detest being late, I arrive forty-five minutes to an hour early for church, I started doing that at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa all those years ago, did it at the Vineyard, and currently at the Encounter Service. Why, because I love God, passionately love God and I cannot wait to worship Him passionately with others who love Him passionately. And I am excited to gather with other believes, to gather with the body of Christ, that we can be mutually encouraged by each others faith, to get together with them and be the church together. I cannot wait to one-another them, to give and receive prayer, to give and receive a word from the Lord. To hear what the Spirit has to say to the church, for the Spirit to move among us, so I don’t want to be just in time for church.

I realize that we need each other, as the body of Christ, to help each other walk with Christ, live out the life of Christ, to become Christlike, walk through whatever challenges life presents us with. That’s not something I am going to stroll in for as though it’s not essential.

The scriptures tell us we are living stones that are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, is that something you want to show up for at the last minute, be late to? Not me, I can’t wait to gather with the other living stones to built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood together.

Like Friday night Encounter Service I go to, arriving forty five minutes to an hour early also enables me to get ready for Jesus and the body to come together, the worship team always does a sound check of two or three songs, I call it pre-worship. After the pre-worship, I open my bible get in the word, then get on the floor on my face and pray. I empty myself of the things of this world, come down from the jerks in rush hour traffic that ticked me off, get my mind, heart set on Jesus. By the time the service starts, I have already encountered God in the pre-worship, the word and prayer, my face is set like flint towards God.

So you could say when it comes to meeting with Jesus, gathering with the body of Christ, gathering around the word of God, I am like a true football fan. I’m a tailgater, I show up early, I’m excited, paint my face, bare my chest and paint it, get out my foam finger, my picket fence, I’m and hoping and holing, ready to go, fired up ready for church to start, ready to encounter Jesus, encounter the Holy Spirit in action. I show up early because I’m excited to gather with Jesus, with His church, hear His word.

Jesus is going to show up if it’s really is a gathering of Christ followers, Jesus is going to speak to the church, the Holy Spirit is going to be equipping and teaching, moving in power, gifts will be given. Worship will be going on, one anothering is going to be going on. Love for one another beyond the worlds understanding will be going on. People may be healed, maybe people will be baptized into a new life in Christ.

Do you understand Jesus will be there, Jesus will be there, JESUS Will Be There, the body of Christ will be there, my co-labors in Christ, the beloved of Jesus will be there, and I do not want to miss one minute of it.

 

Also read this post about church Rituals vs Relationship – Worship from the Heart vs from a booklet

I am loved by God and a lover of God, I am Lovesick for God, therefore my worship is passionate.

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,…” Luke 10:27

Let them praise his name with dancing, let them sing praises to him with drums and guitar! Psalm 149:3

Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! Zephaniah 3:14

Those three verses are inseparable to me.

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Which of the two groups of people above would you say are passionately worshiping God, passionately in love with God? If a non-believer walked in theses two services which one would they say, WOW, they really love God? WOW, They are passionately about Jesus? Which one do you think they would say, I want to know about the God they are worshiping? Which one would you say God is in a intimate relationship with them? Acts like their God is extravagant in His affections for them? Looks like their God is a consuming fire of passionate love for them? Is Jealous for the love and devotion of His people?

As for me, the answers to those questions are at the heart of why I had no interest in every church I walked into until I was 25, why had I a distorted understanding of God and church.

When it comes to love I am passionate, expressive and emotional and in scripture, we see God is too.

The Lord your God is in your midst, one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will rest in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:0

Is the way on the Left how you respond to a God that is rejoicing over you with LOUD signing? Not me. To God in your midst? Not me.

This is my story, my personal life experience.

I have walked into many churches like on the Left in my lifetime, that’s why I never liked going to church in my youth, my teens, up to my mid-twenties. I found the “worship” boring, and dead, and I did not understand a word of the songs in the hymnal’s, like “Would He devote that sacred Head” and “For their feete runne to euil”, I would think who talks like that to anyone, especially to God? And what the heck does that even mean? I would not talk to a girl like that, that I was in love with, was passionate about. So nether would I talk to God like that being in love with Him.

Add in the legalistic, harsh loveless sermons they preached, their God scared me, their God did not beckon me into a love relationship with Him. He was not someone who wanted a love relationship with me, or loved me. The way they worshiped showed me God was not someone you sought to have a love relationship with. I would look around and everyone looked like that were mad, or depressed, or bored with God and well, and this was their worship of the God they say they loved, and who loved them!

One thing for sure I never linked the “joy of the Lord”, “God is love” to their worship. Their worship was not an expression of love for God, passion for God, or even God is love. I could not stand the worship time, or the sermons so I was never part of a church growing up. I really believed God was harsh, unemotional, unloving, very distant from man. He was just not someone you had a love relationship with, based on how the people were worshiping Him. They might have said the words “God is love”, “God loves you”, but their lack of a deep intimate personal love relationship with God being displayed in their worship, said otherwise, their worship did not match their words.

“At Calvary Chapel: I knew they loved God and God loved them, they were in a love relationship with God.”

Then God lead me to Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, the first time I was there and I was blown away by the worship, in awe, for the first time in my life I witnessed worship of God, people in love with God. Because I had been to football games, I had seen what people are like when they are passionate about someone or something, I had crushes on girls, I know how you act when you’re crazy about someone. And Jesus even tells us we are to love God even more than our loved ones. That first time I was at Calvary, I saw people who were passionately in love with God, crazy in love with Jesus, for the first time I saw people worship God with all their being and I was in awe. They not only looked happy but were ecstatic, full of uncontainable joy. I could see they loved God, I saw people worshiping like God loved them, they were in a love relationship with God. I wanted to know their God, the one they were in love with. The songs were alive and personal from their heart to God, and in simple modern English that I could understand, words that connected to my heart. I was overwhelmed, and I want to know God like they did. to love God like they did. Know His love like they did. I wanted to know the God that they were so in love with, that stirred such passion in them. And so for the first time in my life, I became part of a church.

“I wanted to know the God those people were so in love with, so passionate about.”

Before Calvary Chapel I knew Jesus died for my sins, that He was my savor, but until Calvary Chapel I never knew, saw or experienced God was a God of love, and He wanted a love relationship with me, that I could have a passionate love relationship with Him.

It’s been many years since that day I walked into Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, and I have grown in breadth and length and height and depth, in my relationship, and love of God, of my Lord and savior Jesus Christ, so thus has my worship, but still I am not even at the level I want to be at.

I am by nature a passionate person, affectionate and romantic when I am passionate about something or someone, it shows, so I worship with great passion, how can one not when worshiping the God of Creation, the God who came in the flesh to suffer and die for me. How can I not be excited, want to raise my hands to the one who was raised from the dead for me, jump with joy, dance with gladness, shout, cry, scream with arms wide open, proclaim my love to Him, be filled with joy and smile ear to ear. I must, everything in me cries out to Him, my love must be expressed with all my mind, strength, and body, and so I do. That’s me, how I roll, I cannot just sit in a pew unemotional, singing songs that are not from my heart.

Which group looks like God is inhabiting their praises like the bible says He will? For me it’s the ones on the Right, because that is how I express love.

 

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Psalm 16:11 says “in your presence there is fullness of joy” which group looks like their is in the presence of God, loos like there is fullness of joy? As for me the ones on the Right to me.

Who looks like they are gazing on the face of the One who sits on the throne? To me, in my experience as one who does, the people on the Right.

Who looks like they are worshiping, in love with the God who became a man, suffered and died to have a love relationship with them? The Right as to how I worship the One who died for me.

My choices are based on my life experience, and how I am wired for love and passion, and my personal encounters with God in worship. How God made me, wired me, how I express and perceive love.

The service on the Left screams Rituals vs. Relationship, what Jesus condemned the Pharisees for. Making Judaism all about a set of rituals and laws to follow, things to do rather than have a love relationship with God. King David understood what it was all about, about passionately pursuing the heart of God, but the Pharisees did not.

“if I am not going to get to worship God at the level everything in me screams to do and say, why even be there?”

As for me, if I cannot have the freedom to passionately worship and love God at the level my heart desires to, I don’t want to go there. I would rather just stay home, if I am not going to get to worship God at the level everything in me scream to do and say, pour out my heart to God, why even be there? So that is why I would not go to a church like the ones in the Left photos, it’s just not me.

“like the rocks I would have to cry out praises to God, shout out the Name above every name”

To just sit there week after week unemotional, un-passionately, sing songs that say nothing of the love I feel for God, I would explode, like the rocks, I would have to cry out praises to God, shout out the Name above every name. Dance with joy before my Lord like King David (OK, not naked like he did). Not falling on my face before Him crying out Holy, Holy is the Lamb on the throne. Worship with total abandonment, be all in with all that I am, heart (Emotions & Affections), soul (Life), strength (Body, Actions) and mind (Thoughts) is unacceptable, I must worship God.

I’m just saying that is me, where I am in my relationship with God, the level of love I have and level of worship I desire to give God. I’m not attacking or condemn others who choose to worship like churches on the Left, who choose be part of a church like that. I choose to go where I am free to passionately worship God, love God with total abandonment to my heart’s content. Come before the throne of God and gaze upon His beauty and dance with joy before Him, and sing loud from my heart to Him who sits on the throne.

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I am like the guy on the Right when I worship, and at the top of the page, I am all in, totally abandoned in my love and worship of God, and I will not give Him anything less.

The words to the song “You Won’t Relent” by Misty Edwards says it for me.

For there is love that is as strong as death
Jealousy, demanding as the grave
And many waters cannot quench this love

I don’t want to talk about You
Like You’re not in the room
I want to look right at You
I want to sing right to You

I seek to be in a group that looks like that is true for them. Who looks like God is in the room with them, who looks like they are looking God in the face and singing to Him. Who look like they are in love with a God who is in love with them?

I’ve tasted and seen, of the sweetness of the presence of Jesus, the moving of the Holy Spirit, and I want to stay there. Churches on the Left are why I never wanted to be part of a church, had a distant relationship with God, knew not of His love and was a periodical son tell I was 25, and I will never be part of one. Churches on the Right are why I have a passionate love relationship with God, with His word, and so there I will stay.

If you like, want a church like the one on the Left, then be part of a church like that, just don’t expect me to, because I will not. And I do not care what others think, I worship for an audience of one, He who sits on the throne.

This is not open for debate, I will not love God less or less passionately than I do now and how I express it. I am unapologetic about this because I’ll never be sorry or apologetic for loving God and passionately worshiping Him.

 

Also read this post Early For Church, Never Just in Time

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When people gather together and do not acknowledging the presence of the Holy Spirit, engage with the Holy Spirit, it’s basically a social group, participating in religious rituals, not a church. We desperately need the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit that worked through Peter, Paul, Timothy, and Silas. That same Holy Spirit that birthed the church in Jerusalem, Philippi, Ephesus and all the other churches in the NT. The same Holy Spirit that Paul said would equip us with the spiritual gifts to be the church, for us to function as the church. The same Holy Spirit that would give us the power and gifts to serve one another. The same Holy Spirit that Jesus told the disciples to wait for that would fill them with power. That same Holy Spirit we are told not to grieve, and you are going to ignore when you gather, is that not grieving Him? We need the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, we are doing things in the flesh according to our will. Trying to be something we cannot be without the power of the Holy Spirit, the church. If we could be the church without the Holy Spirit, without the power of the Holy Spirit, then Jesus would not have told the disciples to wait for Him.

I praise God that that with the exception of one time, I have always been in a church that does acknowledge and engage the Holy Spirit. Where we begin with the attitude of expectation of the Holy Spirit being there, showing up. Start by paying for the Holy Spirit to come, to show Himself in power, to move among us. To work through us, to speak to us, teach us, equip us. And ultimately lead us, and manifest Himself among us. In fact my current place of worship, we have the attitude we will not move till He comes and move us.

 

We sing:

Holy Spirit sent from heaven
The God of all glory is here
Rise up within me
Living Water, Spirit of God in me

You are welcome in this place
You are welcome in this place
God of power love and grace
Saturate my soul

After all the scriptures make it very clear we cannot follow Jesus, live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit in us, without His power. That we cannot even begin to love on another without the Holy Spirit in us producing the love. And yet so many think they can gather together and function as the church like scripture shows us without the Holy Spirit. How foolish is that!

 

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Monday night I went to be part of a ministry my friend Bruce has called Worship Wagon, they hold church services for the homeless under a bridge in the City Market area of the city.

When I arrived, I help set up the sound system, some chairs, then volunteers (that come from different churches every week) lead worship, and give a message, the service lasted about an hour. Then a food truck from a ministry that feeds the homeless showed up and served a meal. During the whole time us who volunteer to go around offering prayer to everyone, and mingle making conversation with them and sharing Jesus with them.

 

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There were about 50 homeless people there, apparently just across the street in the woods there are several homeless camps with about 100 people living there. I left feeling like more need to be done, maybe is just for myself, that I need to do more. But I have nothing to give, no help to offer anyone, at this point in life I cannot even help myself with my own needs, I too am in need of much. I may not be living on the street, but like them I have nothing and am need of everything.

The most interesting, and most heart-wrenching part was the bus ride there and back, it should have been a simple and quick bus ride from the corner from where I live to there, at least it should have been. That story will be another post.

 

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I cannot help but think of Jesus words in Matthew 25:31-46 “35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’”

That means when I look upon those in need I am looking at Jesus, that is where you find Jesus, not in multi-million dollar church buildings, with their cup holder in the seats and a Starbucks in the lobby. You look in his face when you look in the face of the homeless, poor, hungry, the needy.

When I say that I am only quoting Jesus, read His words above, if you have a problem with that take it up with Jesus when you stand before Him. Of course according to Him is this how that will go.

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. “

If those words of Jesus do not make you stop and think about what it really means to be a follower of Jesus, to be in a deep relationship with Him, I don’t think the fear of God is in you. Jesus’ words make me take a good look at my relationship with Him.

The gathering and more so the event that occurred on the bus ride home (more on that later) effected me so much, so deeply that I went to bed thinking I would not go back next week, it’s just to emotionally hard for me, after all what can I do to help anyone, change their situation. I went to bed depressed, full of sadness, and tearful.

Then this morning I remembered what the Lord had taught me just two weeks ago, and I figured out it applies here, He was preparing me for last night. That just like when Jesus told the the disciples to feed 5,000,  they said “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” , “we don’t have enough” in other words. But Jesus took their “not enough” blessed it, and it miraculously became enough.

So I am going to stop telling God and other what I don’t have, take what I do have, my not enough, and give it to God. And if God so chooses to take my few crumbs of bread, and bless it to feed, five thousand, Praise God. And then He and He alone will get all the glory.

I am going to get off my butt and take a place before God that exhibits some measure of faith, and use what I have, even my not enough.

I’m going to stop cursing my not enough and I’m going to begin to bless.

 

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Take away for the week from what God was saying to me through His word, in my bible studies

1. I need to surround myself with people who are doing it, living out the NT.

Who are following Jesus, passionately following Jesus.

Get around godly men that are beyond me spiritual.

Especially people who are strong in your weakness – or what you want to be stranger in

Like people who are prayer warriors – evangelist, est

Those kind of people are going to convict me, push me,  challenge me

So I am going to surround myself with people who have strengths in areas of my weakness. with people who doing what I want to be doing with God. 

2. Find where God is working and moving and join Him.

Just like when Jesus told the disciples “follow me”, they went everywhere He went. Joined Him in what He was doing, so am I. Where ever a follower of Jesus is preaching the gospel to the lost and people are being saved. Where ever the hungry are feed, naked are clothed, I will be.

3. I want to Never be satisfied with where I am, to be insational with more and more of God. I want to always have a Holy discontentment in my life, to never be comfortable where I am.

The kind of discontentment that wants to know Jesus deeper and more intimately

The kind of discontentment that wants to worship more boldly that I do

The kind of discontentment that wants to know the bible more deeply

The kind of discontentment that wants to pray more deeply and passionately

Not that it parallelizes me, but that constant want of more

I don’t want to just study about Jesus

I don’t want to be some who just talks about Jesus

I want to be someone who knows you Jesus, Who Knows Jesus

I want to be the one Jesus knows, in Matt 7:23, not the one He says 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me” to, but the one that He knows and I know Him.

4. Be careful not to let you pursuit of Jesus today be effected by something dark in your past, by a failure, something you where part of. Forget what is behind.

That can be a source of pride, like I the one guy that the cross of Christ is not adequate enough for. He can save Paul, Peter, everyone else, but I’ve got the one thing in my life, I’ve got that one thing in my past that the cross of Christ is completely inadequate for.

That’s just as proud as pretending that you do not need the cross at all.

5. I want to be about Him

I want others to see that in me, that I just can’t get enough of God.

 

God never ceases to amaze me, two weeks ago while reading my bible a voice in my head said, go to Bethel Church website, I dismissed it, it repeated it, only louder, and kept getting louder until I gave in pickup my phone and went to their website. The voice said click on the sermons tab, I did and looked down at the list of sermons wondering why I was there, I do not listen to their sermons, worship yes, all the time.

Then my eyes spotted a name I know, and the voice said, listen to that one. I started it and was speared in the heart. The message spoke loudly to me, I was all about me, as if it was written for me. It was as if some was reading my mail and answered back. I was a hard message to hear, in fact it took me three days to get trough it,  taking notes, praying, thinking about what I heard.

It turned out the guest speaker gave three different messages that morning, they has so much to give the that church. And the voice (obviously God) told me to listen to the second message they did. And it hit me like a sledgehammer between the eyes, it hurt, cut me to core, it took me five days to get through it.

Those two messages have cause tremendous change in me, attitude change, change in my prayer life, thought life, almost every area of my being is being effected. My head is still spinning.

And to top it off and the Friday night service, Mike’s teaching was a continuation of those first two messages, it was not that the first two have wrecked me, turned me inside out, sent me into a total system reboot.

Saturday I took my notes from all three messages and its as if one person wrote them, as if it was one message, a seamless message given by two different people in three different sermons, weeks apart. And it was written for me, I mean custom for me, like a tailored suit it fit me.

God was the author, the Holy Spirit lead me to the first two, and had Mike finish it on Friday, only God can pull that off.

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I was going through some boxes I have not be in for a while and found my old camera, with a new roll of film even, it was my first 35mm SRL camera that I got in high school. It’s a Balda Werk Bunde – Prontor SVS,  35mm camera, it’s German made.

That took me down memory lane, I took some great photos with it while in high school, its what get me into photography, I later replaced it after high school with a Minolta XE-7 35mm SRL camera, then the top of the line.

Here are some of the photos from high school days.

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Top left to right, Shelli Stahl, Cindy Welch with Risa Casey, Bottom Lynn Audsley, Dave Sanford, Ronnie Dameron and Lynn Hendricks, day after 4th of July.

I only wish I had taken a lot more photos back them, like everyday, every event to have captured most of my high school days. Today with a digital camera in every smartphone we can capture our daily lives and events to have to look back on.

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When it comes to “Fellowship”, I don’t need that to do American church. I don’t need fellowship to attend church on Sunday, to gather in a building with a bunch of people, face forward and hear some guy deliver a well-rehearsed message maybe or not about God, and go home, I can do that on my own.

I don’t need fellowship to just be a fan of Jesus, be a Sunday Christian, to live everyday just like the rest of the world, live for the same things as them, advance my career, make more money, get a bigger house, newer car, talk about politics, sports, and the kids soccer games. I can do that on my own, that’s easy.

But to stay on mission every day, I need people because I’m going to get distracted, I need co-labors in the mission to run the race with, I need prayer, encouragement in the work of the Lord. to run the race, preach the gospel to all the nations in the midst of persecution. To partake in the suffering of Christ, to die to self and life for Christ. For that, I need the fellowship of co-labors.

Fellowship does not begin with let’s have fellowship or let’s do community, where do you see that in the book of Acts, did Paul, Peter every say let’s get together and have fellowship? No, it begins with let’s follow Jesus, let go and make disciples. Let’s Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation, let’s partake in the sufferings of Christ, let’s run the race to win. That’s where you start.

If I just read the Scriptures, I wouldn’t even think so much about the gathering, Sunday church. You know – my first thought wouldn’t be, “Let’s have a gathering.” or “let’s get together and have fellowship”. Out of the Scriptures, I would think, “I’m on a mission” and I am to partner with others on that same mission.

When I read what Jesus has done for me, read His words, especially His last words to us in Matthew 28, how can my life response be anything other than I love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and now I’ve got to go out and tell others about Jesus, and make disciples That’s what I would think, I need to go out there and just reach as many people as I can! I’m supposed to teach them to obey everything that Jesus commanded

That’s what I would get out of scripture, that I need to go out and start making disciples and to gather with people who are doing the same thing, partners in the gospel. This is what I am after.

And that pressure to always stay on that mission, to keep following Jesus, because the world and everyone in it would be beating me down, trying to stop me, I would actually need these brothers and sisters, co-laborers in my life. And I would tell them, don’t let me stop or even slow down, and I won’t let you slow down, we’ve got to stay on this mission together, that’s what we are here for.

So you see I Don’t Need Fellowship (to quote my co-laborer in Christ Francis Chan), or a fellowship group, a community group, to do American Church, But I do need those who are following Christ, living for the mission. to help me live on mission, to join with me in fulfilling the great commission as we call it, to take on the world preaching the gospel and making disciples. I need to gather with those who have “partnered in the gospel from the first day until now”, who are “co-workers in the gospel of Christ”. I need fellowship with those “who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together”, so that I might “run with endurance the race that is set before me”, to fight the good fight, and finish the race set before me. That kind of fellowship I do need.

A friends church home group gathering was having a BBQ for his birthday, I attend and did the Barbecuing for them. The Lord has been teaching me this week is about being a follower of Jesus, and the church and His teaching really took on flesh at this gathering.

The top topics of the night where, sports, politics, work, children and grandchildren, but never was Jesus even mentioned that I ever heard. If anyone did while I was not near them it was brief, quickly mentioned and on the something else if they did.

Is that’s what followers of Jesus look like when they get together? Seriously? Is that what it looks like when people have died to themselves and live for Christ get together? What do they talk about?

When I was part of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, whenever I meet up with another follower of Jesus, whether it was at a church gathering, someone’s house, a restaurant, or running into each other on the street. 80 to 90% of our conversation was about Jesus, the word of God and the mission. Always.

When I look at scripture, read what the life of a follower of Jesus, what the church is to look like, then look how those who claim to be Christians are like, including me, they don’t match up.

When I walk into a church home group, or any home of someone who claims to be a Christian, and Jesus is not the main topic on everyone’s minds, conversations. If the mission and their part in it is not the hot topic. Something wrong with that, very wrong.

So there I was at a gathering of people who claim to be followers of Jesus, who claim they live for Christ, and yet when together they do not talk about Jesus, the word of God, Jesus did not dominate their conversations.

And I asked myself, are these are followers of Jesus? Seriously? Followers of Jesus? The same Jesus who said, you want to go bury the dead, for get you! That Jesus? The same Jesus who said you want to say goodbye to your family, you cannot be my disciple! The same Jesus that said the birds have nest, the fox’s have no holes, and I have no place to sleep, do you still want to follow me? That Jesus?

The Jesus that said “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple! Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple! That Jesus.

The same Jesus that said the purpose of our life is to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

That Jesus?

Are you telling me that people who claim that Jesus is their God, their Lord, their King, that they are willing to die for, be stoned to death for. Be nailed to a cross and die a slow painful death for. Yet when they gather with others who claim the same thing, that same Jesus does not consume their conversations? Does not so consume their life, who they are, that Jesus does not dominate their conversations?

Really, that’s what followers of Jesus look like?

Does that make sense to you?

It’s not that I’m not that I am judging them, it is more like a fear, like a concern, that it has become acceptable in America for Jesus not to be the center of our fellowship, dominate our conversations when we gather. Again, it’s not judging, it’s just I’m deeply concerned at what I see.

I burn to talk about Jesus, talk about the mission, hear what Jesus said that day, week to others, hear about their labor that day, week to preach the gospel and make disciples. Talk about what Jesus has done, about who He is, about His coming soon.

I’m no longer willing to settle for gathering with people who claim to be followers of Jesus and not have Jesus and the mission dominate our conversations. I don’t just want it like it was like in my old days at Calvary Chapel, I want even more than we had then, I want, what I read in scripture, I want to open the book of Acts and say, Wow, we are living this.

This is what God has been showing me in last few days.