as i’m continuing to study the book of james, i realize more and more the connection between what we believe and our day to day actions. james goes so far as to say that the lack of an outward expression of our faith makes our religion worthless!!! (1:26) in fact, we deceive ourselves if we think that don’t live what we believe. i was reading an excerpt from ReJesus where it talks about Shane Claiborne (author of The Irresistable Revolution) taking a survey of a group identifying themselves as “strong followers of Jesus” and asking them, “Did Jesus spend time with the poor?” 80% of the group replied “yes,” while 20% responded “no.” The more baffling and humbling statistic is when the same group was asked if “they spent time with the poor,” only 2% responded that they did. I think that James would call their religion useless. sounds harsh doesn’t it? but it’s truth. even if they were some of the nicest people on the planet, their lack of action makes their religion worth nothing at all.
so… what happens when we read the Bible? do we read it as if it were an entertainment magazine? do we read it to stimulate our minds? or do we know it as the breath of God that gives us life and directs our life? it makes all the difference in the world! it may be the difference between true religion and one that’s worthless. it may be the difference between life and death!
next week, i’m going to be sharing a new initiative that i’m starting over the summer called the “manna” project. if you have been reading my blog and are interested in being a part of changing your community and living our your faith, then stay tuned next week and please invite everyone you know to connect with me here!!! 🙂
my shortsidedness and hard headedness never ceases to amaze me. i was preaching this past sunday on John 4. on of the sections was about the disciples urging Jesus to eat and him responding, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” He’s talking about doing this will of his Father and they’re still thinking about food. i’ve been so convicted of this truth. I believe that we still think that we’re “not ready” or that we “need to be fed more.” but, the truth is that when we act and step out in faith, we grow and we become stronger. in essence, we are fed. it’s crazy that the disciples have been walking with Jesus and yet when he talks about this, they are wondering what literal food he’s talking about. Whereas, Jesus will always talk about the nourishment of our souls being the thing that satisfies us to our deepest core.
anyhow, i’m preaching this word and i’m thinking that i’m getting it in me as well. but that wasn’t necessarily the case. we had our monthly potluck dinner after our gathering and while i’m eating and talking a guy taps me on the shoulder to say hi. it’s one of our brothers from the street that hasn’t been around in a while. he’s talking to me and telling me that it’s been a long time and that so much has changed. i tell him that it’s good that he’s here and that it’s good that he came tonight since it’s potluck night and he’d be able to eat. he comes up to me again about 20 minutes later and says, “you know… life is more than just food. i want and need something more. i’ll be here next week for the service.”
i sat there speechless and humbled. i had just finished preaching a message about a greater food that satisfies our soul, and immediately need to be reminded by my homeless and hungry brother that life is about more than just food for our bodies. this was definitely a humbling reminder that God’s word doesn’t need to just flow through me, but needs to flow in me as well…