As I have been reading, ruminating, relating with friends, I have come to a conclusion that never should have taken me this long to come to. It all comes down to discipling and being discipled in the way of Jesus. Given that some of Jesus’ last words were to go everywhere imaginable and make disciples, I don’t know why I have been so slow in this realization. A friend of mine, Jason Elder, is striving to make disciples in Memphis. He captures the idea beautifully below. Be assured that the friend in SEAsia is not me.
Got a call from a friend today who's been in SEAsia doing some really neat work with some people groups who really need it. I was so inquisitive as to how "baby believers" grow. This fascinates me so much. I wake up and go to sleep thinking about it. I mow the yard and make the bed thinking about it. I look out the window and at the auburn sky and I think about it. It consumes me. How can someone foster spiritual growth in another person in a way that is translatable in every sphere of their life? What are the essentials of the faith? What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus here and now as we prop our elbows on the same table? Man, just hearing my friend talk stoked this fire in me, sent the embers flying.
He has seen people come out of prostitution and then begin, literally, a dozen house churches/home groups in less than 6 months. It's not at all glamorous and he admits it is hard work, but when my ears heard his words it was like an electrical storm in my heart. Yes, Jesus in our midst. Yes, Jesus and me and you and our jacked up lives. Yes, people seeing how we treat one another in the midst of our sin and saying, "Enough of my religion! I need that!" Can that really be happening in this world? Why can't it happen here?
I think that it is happening and that many believers in Memphis are longing for that to happen. A church that is honest and broken and doesn't go around with a spiritualized caulk gun trying to artificially cover the deep cracks in our lives. We need a demolition! Something in me says, "Yes, this is what others want. This is what I want!" I don't want to just meet, neither in a church building, city building, or a house in the neighborhood without seeing grace come down and fill our souls. I look forward to the day that we see that happening in our church. Lord, hasten that day. O, God, for your glory and yours alone.
Jason intimates that we are so busy playing church and doing stuff that we are not really going after the transformed life of Jesus. For so many Christians, following Jesus is normal. Don’t do the really bad stuff, do the occasional good thing, and mind your own business. What Jesus has shown us is something much more RADICAL. There is nothing normal about being a follower of Jesus!