It’s important to me that folks feel welcome when they come to FBJB. Each Sunday, I try to welcome as many folks as I can, let them know we are glad they are here, that they matter. If you do that enough, eventually you meet someone in crisis. That’s how it was that day. Complete freak out crisis mode. This guy stood there, his eyes wet with tears, and a look that was saying “please tell me that you’ll help me.” I got in his life, walked with him, spent time with him, watched him cry, watched him grow, saw him become a follower of Christ. The story did not turn out as he wanted, but he realized he was not going to be alone. It was messy.
Being involved in in the lives of folks is a messy business. Being connected enough that people will be open and honest about their situation means we will eventually get some of it on us. You don’t get to leave clean and without stain. Talking someone off the ledge sometimes means being on the ledge with them. Its not a white glove affair.
Why Discipleship Matters.
We’ve become so separated in our lives, careers, families, and even churches, we don’t have time to invest in people. Words like “team” are thrown around at our places of employment to help us realize that we need to work together, or we all have a voice in the creative process. But in our homes, we tend to retreat into wherever our chill place is. And why not? People are busy. Kids, work, church. Every night we have a sport, ministry, or thing to do. “Aint nobody got time for that!”
People matter to God. He is for us in every way. People pray to him daily pleading with him to send someone to help them, pray with them, spend time with them, love them, show them that they matter. These are the same people we smile at as we worship, walk in and out of services with. But we can’t see past our own issues to realize that discipleship means time and effort. Besides, I’ve got issues of my own. Nobody seems to care about my issues. I go to church to be encouraged, not for somebody that don’t know me to get in my business.”
Where the Dead People Are.
Jesus had a friend named Lazarus. Along with his sisters, Mary and Martha, this family had developed an affection for Jesus, and he for them. When Lazarus died, Jesus went to see the family. He was there. In the moment, in the grief, hurting and feeling every emotion that the heaviness of loss can bring. He wept. He wept because of loss, because it wasn’t supposed to be like this, because he was in it…with them.
We know how Jesus called the name of Lazarus and he came back to life. But what we forget is what Jesus said afterward. “The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
Get It On You!
Its interesting to me. Jesus could have spoken those grave clothes off and they would have fallen on the ground. Rather he told those who were standing there, speechless and in awe at what they had just witnessed, to unbind him and let him go. Imagine that conversation. “Dude! I just saw him raise you from the dead! Let me help get these death clothes off so you can be free! Can you believe what just happened? YOU WERE DEAD! NOW YOU’RE ALIVE!!!”
Here’s the deal. Jesus raised that guy from the grave. He and he alone did that. But by asking us to be in on the process of freedom, someone had to touch the linens that had been wrapped round that guy for three days. Stank, nasty and disgusting. These are a couple words used to describe that. Yet, It had to be done.
We have to be where people are. Work, church, cemetery, mall, coffee shop…They are everywhere. Many have been raised from spiritual death but walk around with grave clothes still on them. They still feel trapped and have yet to truly embrace what it means to be alive in Christ. And yet so many more are still without Christ and need to be brought to life. But we’ll never know who is who until we slow down and look for opportunities.
I’m thankful that 20 plus years ago, Tom Tremaine saw the need in my live. I’m so thankful for the two years he poured into me, taught me, and made me a disciple. I’ll always remember him as one of the dirtiest men I’ve ever met. The scars and mess of life on life discipleship can be seen on his face and in his eyes.
I like that. Life On Life Discipleship.
Be one Make One. Come on.
Let’s get dirty.